November is going to be a fun month for a number of people – they’re participating in National Novel Writing Month! I am not, but I won’t say I wasn’t tempted. I finally decided it just didn’t seem healthy for me. I already give myself a hard time over my paltry word count every day, and I’m afraid NaNo would only make that feeling of failure worse. Everyone has a different method of writing; mine is to pick and rework my words as I write them, and that’s part of what takes me so long to get words on the page. But, who knows? Maybe NaNo would get me over that problem! In any case, for a couple of reasons, I decided this was not the year to try.
I did learn something interesting yesterday related to this. The professor on a DVD writing course of mine was talking about how to start a writing project. For some people, that’s the hardest part of writing! I’ve experienced it more than once and it can feel like you’re trying to get through a brambly path – you have to make up your mind, grit your teeth, and push through regardless of the thorns and clinging vines. One way to ease the pressure is by allowing yourself to free-write for a while, writing down anything that comes to mind about your subject. The result is probably not very good, but after you come back and look at it, you’ll no doubt find the germ of a really worthwhile idea that you can run with. First drafts, however bad, are necessary to the finished product.
It’s a similar principle with NaNo. NaNo forces people to just start, and then, to persevere. Don’t worry about making it fantastic the first round; most of us just need the permission to dive in and swim. You can fix it later.
While I see the logic in this mind game and applaud how it stimulates people, it isn’t the way I tend to work; I’m more comfortable making passages as good as I can as I write them. Is it about having control? I don’t like letting things getting away from me, after all, and NaNo is notorious for that, isn’t it? : )
I’m going to watch my friends who are participating with interest and further my own work-in-progress, The Alice Quest. Here is my word count as of writing this blog post: 5,582. Let’s see how far it’s grown by next Tuesday! And for all you NaNoWriMo writers out there, Godspeed!
What do you think of National Novel Writing Month?