Hitting the NaNoWriMo Goal

It's been a long, hard, grueling November. Every day after spending 8 plus hours at a job that drains the life out of me, I've come home, putzed around on the internet for twenty minutes, and set out to work. Since November 1, I have chained myself to the computer for hours on end, typing out the words that will comprise my second novel. And I'm happy to say all of the effort I've put into it has paid off as I've completed NaNoWriMo as a winner.

I started NaNoWriMo as a way to prove to myself that I could do it. Since I first learned about the event from reading No Plot? No Problem! a few years back, I was intrigued by the experiment. Writing 50,000 words in the span of 30 days sounded like an extreme undertaking, especially at that time when I never considered writing a novel myself. But even after I completed my first novel, which took me a whopping four years to complete and is still not even available (though it will be soon), the thought of writing one in a month was astounding.

But I set out to do it, and the more I wrote, the more attention I paid to it. Of course, this first draft isn't perfect. In fact, it's probably absolute shit, but it does have the makings of a good story; a decent plotline, fun characters, and plenty of action. Can I make it good? Absolutely. That's what December is for (but I think I'll be taking some time off before I jump into editing).

One of the most exciting things about crossing the finish line was getting a neat little certificate commemorating the achievement.

The whole idea of NaNoWriMo is a great encouragement to writers that feel they don't have the time to write. Finding time is one of the hardest parts of writing and NaNoWriMo teaches writers how to put those little moments to good use. While you're waiting for the coffee to finish brewing you can easily bang out 100 words, or when you get stuck at a railroad crossing on the way to work, dictate a few paragraphs into your phone. The time is there; using it wisely is the hard part.

Anyone else out there take part in NaNoWriMo? I'd love to hear who you are doing/have done. Is this your first time challenging yourself or are you a yearly participant? What do you think of your finish product? Let me know in the comments or you can email me at CautionIdiotAtPlay@hotmail.com!


A Short Sighted View of NaNoWriMo

So I was just on the can doing my morning business, browsing Facebook on my phone when this article popped into my news feed.

Monkeys With Typewriters & Why I Hate NaNoWriMo

Being waist deep in NaNoWriMo myself, I decided to check it out. While I respect the author's opinion of the event, I must say that I think he has the wrong perception of the event.

If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it's a month long call to arms to authors to produce a novel length word, of 50,000 words of more, within the 30 days of November. It's fast, it's frenetic, and yes, it's all about word count. A few of the novels that will be produced will be readable, but most will be utter shit. That's basically how ANYTHING goes if you've got a huge number of people rushing to complete something in a short amount of time.

One point that the author of the article and I agree on is that the majority of novels written in 30 days will not be good. Hell, my novel is a shaky read in most places. But the author then goes on to assume that, come December 1, participants of NaNoWriMo will stick a fork in the book and call it done, sending it away for publisher review and waiting for that 6-figure advance to come rolling in.

Not exactly.

Any writer worth his salt knows that a first draft is not good. Even the best ideas look terrible when jotted down for the first time. My first yet-to-be-published novel took 10 revisions before I was happy with what I had left. And even that, I feel like I can go back and revise it again. I want to create the best work possible before I put it in front of an audience.

So why does he assume that everyone who partakes in NaNoWriMo will finish on November 30? I love my novel so far; I love the idea that I had, the characters that I've molded, and the situations I've created for them. But once I hit that 50,000 word mark, I know I'm not done. I know that I need to go in there and tighten up my language, word tense, and character development.

That's how books get written.

When you build a house, you first need to lay the foundation. Then you need to erect the framework. Then you hammer in the sheet rock, build the walls, install windows, and on and on. Novel writing is no different. NaNoWriMo is a great way to encourage writers to lay that foundation, to get them started on the road to being a novel writer. Will many writers feel they're finished by the end of November? Yes, but they'll soon realize that they aren't writers. Will a lot of writers not have the persistence to go back and revise their work? Yep, but again, it weeds out the wannabes with no passion. Will some writers actually work with their book  until they can finally be proud of what they've produced? Yes, without a doubt.

To take an analogy from the writer of that author, no, pressure does not always lead to creating a diamond. However, NaNoWriMo isn't about creating diamonds. November is used to find that crusty, ugly gem that no one would dream of putting into a wedding ring. THAT'S what November is for. But once you have that gem, it will still need to be cut and polished and made beautiful, something that can be admired by everyone else. Not everyone participating in NaNoWriMo will actually do this, but to those that do, it's a great time.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...