I’ve completed the NaNo challenge (write 50,000 words in 30 days) several times, ending up with the rough drafts of a series of books.
NaNo is invigorating and inspiring. All over the world, writers young and old, neophyte and experienced hit the ground running and write like the wind!
I’ve learned important lessons from NaNo, the most important of which is to write quickly. I’m a slow, deliberate writer by nature, a ditherer who obsesses over placing the right word, the right construction, the right punctuation, one letter after the other in order. It can take me a loooooong time to finish a project — if I don’t waffle the project to death altogether. NaNo has taught me that, if I get bogged down, the best thing to do is stop editing as I go and just write the damn thing. That isn’t my preferred method, but it’s a good tool to be able to use to bust a block, if that block happens to be the result of the method I’ve been using. The second most important lesson is that it’s okay to write a really crappy rough draft. Anything can be rewritten.
So why am I not doing NaNo this year?
After several years of doing NaNo, I’m not learning new lessons. I need to take a break, in hopes that I’ll come back to it out of the NaNo habit and learn some important new things. The power that is NaNo should not be taken for granted.
After several years of doing NaNo, I have a buttload of rough drafts that I haven’t had time to turn into finished-ish drafts. I need to do some of that hard work before I grant myself the intense pleasure of creating a new book.
So, if you’re doing NaNo, I wish you as much fun and as much personal success with it as I’ve had. You can have fun and personal success at it whether you “win” or not, you know. You’re a NaNo winner if you get any writing done at all. You’re a NaNo winner if you seriously consider doing any writing at all, as long as you follow that up with actual writing some time. 🙂 Go, you!
And, if you’re not doing NaNo, let it be for one or more good reasons. NaNo isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for everyone every year.
If you’re a writer, write, using whatever tool and resource is available to you. I love to read. I’ll be cheering you on.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character decides to forego a group activity in which they usually participate.