As promised, Faithful Reader, the KH is taking a break from her NaNoInsanity — a much-deserved break, I might add — to give you an update on NaNoWriMo. The Evil Word Count to-date is 30,527 and the single-spaced pages now total 70.
As we mentioned before, participating in National Novel Writing Month is, among other things, a time of learning. In particular, it affords you the opportunity to learn about yourself as a writer and, hopefully, to grow as a writer based upon what you have learned. So, what have we learned thus far?
First, having Writing Buddies definitely is a good and helpful thing! The folks at NaNoWriMo encourage all participants to do so by providing everyone a page where each Writing Buddy’s name is displayed together with their pic and their word-count-to-date. The organizers also provide a NaNoMail system where Buddies can send and receive words of encouragement (challenges, too, I’m certain).
One of my Writing Buddies is my real-life friend, Serena Schreiber, author of a young-adult novel, Finn’s Ship. Early on, when the KH’s spirit was waning because she hadn’t yet “gotten into the groove,” Serena sent me a NaNoMail that read, simply, like this: In the immortal words of Dory, from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming!” Those words and that image stay with me now, each and every day, as I wiggle my fins ever onward! So, thanks, Serena 🙂
Next, NaNo does include some moments (ok, many moments!) of Boredom. “How is that a good thing?” you may ask. In my NaNoWorld, Boredom is my key signal that it’s time to put away my crayons and quit writing for awhile. Several times, I’ve pushed through the Boredom and continued writing. The words showed it. Not that my end product is going to be perfect for having taken breaks; far from it! All in all, however, when the characters are still romping on their own, and the words are flowing onto the page and I’m unaware of me, myself and I (and whether or not I’m Bored), then I’m at my writing best.
The unfortunate thing about this fact that I’ve learned about myself is that it leads to bigger time crunch issues. If I become Bored at 11 PM and want to get a good word count in by midnight (NaNo stats roll over at 12 AM, EST), I’m more likely to just push through the Boredom 😉
Finally, NaNo is slowly, but surely, forcing me into some writerly habits, the first and foremost of which are Organization and Time Management. Being a bit of a rebel, I’ve always been what is called a “pantser”; I prefer to write “on the fly” or “by the seat of my pants” as opposed to writing from an outline with a definite sequence of events in mind.
That hasn’t changed, but I’ve learned that Organization in the form of a rough outline makes being a “pantser” that much more fun. I no longer have to search back through umpteen pages of text to find out where the current writing path began; I can look at my handy-dandy outline. “Aha! that’s right. We started poisoning Uncle Joe in Chapter 10!”
Time Management requires that I, well, manage my time! It also requires that I set writing Goals (i.e. my daily Evil Word Count). I know now that if I don’t achieve my EWC, then I bloody well better hoist my butt out of bed early the next morning, make up for the previous day’s lack of words and get started on achieving that day’s Goal.
So, there you have it. We live and we learn. We NaNo and we NaNo some more and we learn along the way.
PS: We never mentioned that we like acquiring these new habits; we’re just acquiring ’em and getting used to ’em. Ah, the writer’s life!
PS: We faithfully promise a new post after Thanksgiving or at 40K, whichever comes first. However, as Thanksgiving inflicts yet another time crunch upon those of us Wrimos living in the U.S.A., we shall offer now our most sincere wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!
You know where the KH will be: slaving away on her scroll!!