We’re well and truly into December and the NaNoWriMo ship has definitely sailed.
Those thousands of writers who spent November hunched over their keyboards, muttering about word sprints and the distracting pull of Twitter are now taking that well earned break from their manuscript. Because you have to give it some distance before you go back and begin editing.
Of course, you could be one of those who, like me, didn’t hit the target and is still furiously typing away, determined not to let the motivation of the last month fade.
Although I didn’t manage to complete 50,000 words during November, I’m really happy with the outcome of my NaNoWriMo experiment. I’ve written around half of my manuscript and I’m pleased with how it’s shaping up.
Despite my initial reservations and self-doubt, November was a really productive month; I haven’t written this much in years.
So thank you NaNoWriMo, because not only have you given me the kick up the arse I so desperately needed, you’ve also taught me a few things too:
- No matter how much you write, someone else will always have surpassed the final target in the first week, making you feel like a failure at life.
- It’s okay to write without knowing every detail of the story. If you’re not sure about a minor character’s name or the colour of someone’s hair, leave a gap and fill it in later.
- Just because you’re writing quickly, it doesn’t mean that your writing will necessarily be awful.
- On the other hand, just because you’ve completed the first draft of your manuscript, that doesn’t mean it will be any good.
- It is possible to find the time to write (almost) every day, even for just a few minutes. It’s immensely satisfying watching your word count inch closer to the goal.
- Having a word target to aim for each day is a great way of motivating yourself. However, it’s also an amazing tool to flog yourself with whenever you miss a day. Don’t focus too much on how much you manage to write each day; as long as you’re getting closer to completing the overall project, you’re doing well.
- Your annoyance with hyphenated words can reach epic proportions.
- Never has it been so painful to delete a whole chunk of text from your manuscript. All those precious words!
- The human brain has infinite capacity to trick itself, or just ignore the things it doesn’t want to see. Like if I just highlight that section I don’t like in red instead of deleting it, it still counts towards my final word total.
- Becoming immersed in your story is magical.
Writing can be a struggle, but right now, I’m more in love with it than ever.