Okay, so I’m going to go off the beaten track a little bit with this post because… I didn’t read a single book in the month of November. Shocking, I know. I even went through withdrawal, but it was an interesting experience. Why didn’t you read a single book, you might be asking. It’s because I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo for my very first time. I’ve been circling the periphery of NaNo for years – feeding friends who are participating, arranging write in spaces at the venues where I worked, cheering peoples on, etc – but had never joined in as a writer. So, this year when work said they would give me time every Friday to host in our library on the condition that I also write (leading by example for the students and all) I jumped on the opportunity. And while I didn’t quite make the 50k word count (I came in at 45k) I came away from this month with some lovely insights.
1. Writing every day is HARD. Like holy shit balls hard. It’s like life demands far more of your time when you’re trying to be creative than when you’re trying to relax. Got a great idea? Bring on the snow storm of the century that will leave you plowing for days.
2. Having a daily goal forces you to move post those plot holes. I’ve dabbled in creative writing in the past, but whenever I hit a plot hole/ writer’s block I would always end up walking away because I couldn’t figure out how to move past the issue. With the subtle pressure of NaNo’s imaginary deadline I simply plows through, and in most cases the issue resolved itself later on. I now have about 40 notes throughout my document on stuff I need to fix. And I’m actually looking forward to the revision process.
3. What you produce is likely going to be a burning trash heap of words that needs the intervention of the gods. And that’s entirely okay. It’s also why in the day’s following wrap up you see all these lovely tweets about ‘don’t query your baby-fresh mess now, fix that shit first’. It’s true. So, so true.
4. The writing community on Twitter is freaking AMAZING. As a first time NaNoer, having some pretty successful authors comment on your nobody account and cheer you on gives you the goosebumps. I’m kind of in love with the community that springs up out of this monthly touch of magic.
5. I will likely never publish my little trash pile of words. And I am at peace with that. Also, this is not a bad thing. I didn’t go into this with the desire to write a publishable piece. I went in wanting to put on paper a story that had been bouncing around my brain for years. I did that, and I am delighted with the process. *pats self on back*
6. The target is helpful, but not worth the stress. Seriously. I’m wasn’t getting paid to go through hell, I had no hard deadline from a publisher to meet. I fell 5,000 words behind, so what? I can write the rest of them whenever I want. And maybe it’s because this was my first NaNo that the experience and community seemed to be more important than the final product. But unless you’ve got a good (legally binding) reason to drive yourself into the ground, it’s not worth burning yourself out.
7. Finally, my respect for writers has increased tenfold. I’ve always valued and adored authors for their ability to craft a story and make me want more, but right now that awe is insanely amplified. Seeing how things start out, the creative energy it takes to see these things through, and the amount of work that goes into polishing said trash pile of words is just insane. Thank you writers, for being brave and determined, because this writing thing isn’t for the weak of heart.
Thank you to everyone who cheered me on throughout the month, and to those lively book bloggers who checked in to see if I was still living when I wasn’t sharing reviews, you are freaking fabulous.
Regularly irregular reviews will now resume.