Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month has been happening in November since 1999. It has grown so big, November has become the international novel writing month. This is my first year participating.
I’ve written a little over 33,000 words of the 50,000 goal this month with five days to go. I started the process to enjoy the comradery of writing with other writers not necessarily to reach the goal. I had several reservations about the quality of a book written in a month. Still I joined, and began to write.
I’m grateful I’m doing Nano, because I learned a lot in the process. One, I am way too critical while writing the first draft. I don’t think 50k is enough for a novel, that’s like a novella. So you are basically writing like a detailed outline to get it out… I’m getting it out. I’m moving through scenes like nobody’s business. When you are pressed for time Ego doesn’t have an opportunity to be critical, judgmental and basically slow you down. Ego even blocks or completely stops people from completing projects. I don’t have time not to be sure of my words… More importantly, and this is something I have to remind myself of whenever I am encountering Ego, I can edit when I’m done. So STFU Ego.
One of the wonderful things about just getting it out is the layering. I actually write everything straight out then go back and organize it into dialog. In the re-reading I’m adding words. Sometimes a chapter at first is around 800 words. After I go back and really live through the characters I’m usually ending around 1800 per chapter and some days I write two chapters. I haven’t been writing consistently. So I am required to write more whenever I do show up at the laptop. Which is cool, it means I can’t mess around…
Which brings me to my next thought, I’ve also noticed who supports my goals. Which equates to who supports me. I told everyone I’m going to do my best to complete 50,000 words this month. Still people planned things for me in November and took it personal when I declined. Some of them were successful in making me feel guilty which made me consider my boundaries all over my life. Then the day to day of working and doing all the things required to be a functioning adult like making lunches, dinner, doing laundry, paying bills, getting grocery and maintaining relationships. I can’t sit on the phone and talk all day. I can’t text all day. I’m in my head writing and working out scenes so that when I sit down I can get them out. I was really hurt when I noticed people I love basically saying, let me interrupt your goals so you can listen to my day because completing a novel is not a real goal.
I sound whiny, but they’ve literally said things like, “well, you don’t really have to write today, do you?” “What is the point of you writing every day, even I take days off from my job, and this writing doesn’t even pay?” I actually don’t write every day. And I actually do earn royalties. On top of that, I wrote before I published. Getting royalties is a bonus not a motivator or a requirement for me to write. Why do I have to validate how I spend my time based on monetary gain? Writing for me is a spiritual thing, it helps me get out of my own junk and makes me a better human being. But even if it didn’t why can’t the people I love support my goals simply because they are important to me? Do they not value me? This is a heart breaking question I’ve been contemplating… I can’t think about it too much though, I’ve got to write.
Another thing Nano has done is allowed me not to take it personal and to help me assert myself. I don’t even have time to tell my loved ones how they are assholes for not supporting my goals. One, I’ve got to write. Two I have friends doing Nano, who ask me what I’ve written and keep me posted on their writing. In addition to this and the biggest part is, Nano introduces you to an entire group of writers. There are “Write-In’s” all over my city and your city, too. If you go sign up on their site, they’ll give you a list of writers and events in your neighborhood.
About my city and the writing events. I actually joined Nano after noticing that several libraries and coffee shops were hosting writing meetings. I mean people actually meeting just to write is not common. Every other group I know is about critiquing work, sharing work as a motivation to produce work or looking for readers to do writer peer editing. I didn’t know any groups just writing. The funniest thing is, my life hasn’t allowed me to get to any of those writing meetings that were the motivation for me joining Nano. Lately, I’ve been telling myself, I am going to go to a “write-in” before the month ends. Now I am forgiving myself that I probably won’t make one… Because the goal isn’t even to write with other people but to just write. The write-ins are support for your writing in an otherwise hostile, not writer friendly society. LOL! Turns out there may be a lot of assholes out there trying to keep their writer friends from ever completing a book.
I must admit, I have written with friends in online setting. We literally check in and then go work on our respective projects. I hadn’t planned to finished but then something hit me and I’ve been pushing right along. Going forward, whenever finishing a project I’ve learned the importance of deadlines to just finish a rough draft. I also know who doesn’t care about me reaching my personal goals and I can deal with that accordingly.
This is a lot of words I could have put in my novel, but I wanted to get this off my chest. I’m looking forward to having a very productive writing day. I’m looking forward to writing the bulk of what’s left if not finishing in the next two days. Good luck to all the other writers getting their Nano on! Write On!!!