November's approaching. The month where writers all around the globe seclude themselves from family and the outside world. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, in fact all forms of social media, are swept aside. It's Nanowrimo time! 50,000 words in 30 days.
|Image: courtesy of www.yonix.com|
Via caffeine hits, sugar highs and a non-stop workout of the fingers, writers thrash through a novel from its start to its completion. A daunting and yet awe-inspiring challenge that intrigues, so I set out to learn more about it, and wow! Discussions abound, sprinkled with shouts of, "Oh, yeah, I'm there!" and laments of, "Not possible." Emotions overflow, a chaotic mix of anticipation and glee and frustration and resentment.
Why the intense divide in opinions? Here's what I discovered.
1. It diminishes the loneliness you endure when writing. Other writers are reaching for the same goal and you all share your joy as you achieve your daily word counts.
2. You have a goal. For the month of November you will write a 50,000 word novel. You might think that unachievable but divided into 30 days and you have a word count of a little over 1,500 words per day. Not such an impossibility, and in the end you have a whole book written.
3. You conquer fear and shove aside the temptation to procrastinate.
4. Watching your progress and being encouraged by other writers motivates you to keep writing.
5. You silence your ever-critical inner editor and the story flows.
6. The story you've written is full of faults: implausible plotting points, characters aren't consistent in behaviour, the pacing isn't right. That's okay. What you have written is the first draft which you can then revise until your story reveals itself as the gem it is.
7. Writing continuously, and finding the time to write, fosters the habit of writing every day. A discipline writers must adhere to if they are serious about writing as a career.
|Image: courtesy of www.orig13.deviantart.net|
1. You focus wholly on your writing and live your story. The cost is isolation from your family and friends.
2. If your focus is split between producing the daily word count and life's obligations - for example, driving your children to school or football training or ballet lessons; taking a parent to their doctor's appointment - you may crash at the end, your desire to write burned out..
3. Writing a complete novel, ensuring the characters are likeable, the plot believable and the conflicts strong enough to carry the story to the end, is no easy venture. Committing to writing the work in 30 days - quantity over quality - adds an extra layer of stress.
4. The online meetings and discussions with other writers committed to Nanowrimo take away time from your writing.
5. You have the premise of your story and your characters but are unclear about the conflict, how to solve the conflict (goal), why it needs to be solved (motivation), or how the story unfolds. You falter and waste time wondering what to write.
6. The story you've written is full of humiliating faults and requires a complete rewrite if you wish the book to shine.
7. Your full-of-faults first draft reveals you are no good as a writer. You don't dare reveal your failure to anyone and you wonder if you should stop writing, give up your dream of being a writer.
|Image: courtesy of www.catheswanson.com|
Nanowrimo is a contentious undertaking with as many pros as cons. It can be discouraging. It is certainly exhausting. But if you plan and prepare your novel beforehand, it is exhilarating.
Will I do it this year? Absolutely, I will. Why? Simply because it motivates writers to write and cultivates discipline, a sure-fire cure for procrastination.
|Image: courtesy of wisdomforthefuture.wordpress.com|
Are you committed to Nanowrimo this November? Are you steering clear of it? If you've participated before, do share your experiences and any words of advice or caution.
Love to love - writing...and writing...and writing.
Love to laugh - at all the crazy ideas I can think up while brainstorming.
Love to learn - how to make Nanowrimo work best for me.