Sprinting Through November

This blog has been quiet since the end of October and I thought I owed everyone an explanation. Every November, writers around the world participate in National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. The premise is simple, write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month. If you want to know more about it, click on the the link here.

I participated this year. I wanted to try something different. All of my other manuscripts took at least a year to write and I wanted to see if I was up to the challenge. I’m happy to report that I finished my novel at 11:30pm on November 30th. Now looking back on it I thought I would share two of my observations about writing this way.

Just Keep Writing

Writing a book in a month requires you to turn off your inner editor. You just have to keep going. Usually in the writing process I might write, then delete, and write a sentence several times. In fact, I’ve done it at least twice on this paragraph alone. When trying to finish a novel in the month you don’t have time for that. You just keep writing. The idea behind NaNoWriMo is that you can’t revise a blank page. Put the story on paper and then fix it later. The first draft is just putting all the legos out on the floor. Editing is going back and making something out of them.  I found this approach to writing very liberating. I could just keep forging ahead. I’m going to wait a least a month before trying to edit this novel. Then we’ll see if its any good. At least the legos are on the floor now.

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Who Are You Again?

Writing a novel in a month means immersing yourself in the fantasy world that you’ve created. No matter what is going on  you are thinking about your story. Now I had a rough outline before I started but fleshing that outline took a lot of thought. Of course real life intrudes into the fantasy world and you find yourself saying things like, “what? what did you say?” a lot. There may or may not have been a call from school reminding me that school dismissed early and I should come get my kid. Okay, so there was. Writing a novel becomes an all-encompassing endeavor.

Overall though, I liked this approach to writing. I learned that it is possible to write a novel in a month. Now when I go back and revise this book, I may decide it wasn’t a good idea.  I’m already thinking about doing this again. Not right now though, I need a break and maybe some sugar cookies.

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