Monday, November 21, 2011

Notes from Our NANOWRIMO Correspondent: Half-Way Through

We're nearing the end of the month, it's time for a check in with our NANOWRIMO correspondent, Katie.Is anyone else participating? How are you guys doing? Let us know in the comments!
This is my first #NaNoWriMo, so I find myself lapping up any crumbs of advice anyone wants to drop my way. And in fact, I've found that it's these tiny morsels that have helped turn an aspiration into a reality. Or at least a two week reality. At 23,000 words in, I have written exponentially more than I ever have before. There is something wonderful about dipping your toes into the writerly waters surrounded by a network that is striving to keep you from drowning. But even with the support network, writing is still very much a solitary pursuit and demands a great deal of discipline and focus. As a historically undisciplined individual, here are some of the lessons I've applied thus far that have really helped me:
  1. Make an appointment with yourself every day. And keep it. My appointment is at 6:30 am. I can rarely get all 1,600+ words that I need to get out in that hour before work, but sticking to this schedule means that I go to work every morning with 1,000 words in my pocket and an easy evening ahead.
  2. Write. And then write some more. Notice how I didn't say, write then edit then write some more. Just keep writing. We can make December the National Edit Your Novel Month. For now just get the words down.
  3. Keep a notebook nearby at all times. Your best ideas rarely come in front of a monitor. It's much easier to write it down for later than it is to try to keep it in your head.
  4. Be flexible. Tangents can take you wonderful places and reveal aspects of the story you may not have seen when you originally set out to write it. This may not work for everyone, but I've found these revelations to be my favorite part of the process so far.
  5. The time a writer spends writing a scene is so incredibly and devastatingly disproportionate to the time a reader spends reading a scene that it can feel extremely disheartening. Sometimes it helps to reward yourself for getting through a tough scene or pass a word count milestone. Your novel rarely suffers from being set aside while you refresh your mind, and frequently it benefits from the experiences you have when you're away from your computer.
Happy Writing!

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