Before NaNoWriMo began this year, I read a few blogs. I liked what Victoria Grefer had to say about why not to try NaNoWriMo: Writing with the Crimson League and what Kristen Lamb said about going for it: Kristen Lamb's Blog
Here are a few thoughts about what’s happening. Many thanks to both bloggers sharing their experience and thoughtful advice.
Victoria Grefer tells us about not signing onto NaNo if we are too hard on ourselves or too worried about competing. I took her advice to heart and decided to continue anyway. The biggest hurdle for me in writing has been hating early drafts. My work seems so lousy in the beginning and I itch to go back and have a great first chapter, even if I don’t finish the work. Slowly, I have overcome this need to revise, but Victoria’s advice stuck with me in a positive way. I thought that maybe I could use NaNo to finally overcome this quirk and train myself to draft then re-draft at a later time and edit only as much as is critical to the plot and charters moving forward.
Victoria’s final word of advice is about feeling superior to others who don’t win. I loved this point, not because I am tempted to feel superior, but because NaNo is one of very few arenas where there are multiple winners and no real losers. If you go for it you essential win in your world. What I really appreciated is that Victoria cares about her writing world and the lives of those writers. She inherently knows that feeling superior is bad for all of us.
Kristen Lamb gives the other side. She compares NaNoWriMo to fitness camp for writers. What I particularly liked were her comments on endurance and mental fitness. Especially for some of us with limited schedules we must consider writing enough of a priority to move a few tasks around then we keep on writing. Thirty days has a limit, but it is long enough to keep us in the trenches so to speak. Eugene Peterson quotes Nietzsche in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. This book about the Psalms of ascent looks at the discipline of living day to day as a Christian. In quoting Friedrich Nietzsche Petersen likens our lives to a beloved path and not a series of flighty missteps. I think Kristen says much the same thing about the discipline of writing. The short little burst of any discipline does not train inspire or endure and ceases to be discipline. She counsels us to us NaNo to train ourselves as writers to be the best we can be.
I have taken other advice. I’ve picked a time and stuck to it so far, aided greatly by daylight savings time. Also, I make myself stay at the computer even when my jumpy mind wants to go play with the dogs, make more coffee, or switch to taptiles (current game obsession.) Those are all treats for later as the daily word count hits 750, then 1200, and finally 2,000. Finally I refuse to be annoyed with myself for not being perfect.
Finally, where do those necessary re-writes fit in my schedule? I couldn't lose them altogether. I stumbled upon this option to edit my daily writing in the evening, with a glass of wine, a short nice relaxing read and time to think. This is much better than rewriting as I go. It sets up the next morning's work and helps make the horrid first draft not quite so drafty. I make notes on a big board of chapter outlines and character growth. We will see. If I like this method I plan to employ it for a few more books.
As always, thanks for reading.
Joy to you BEV
Also Posted at Writing Rogues