Wow. Well, my tail got whupped. 🙂
Attempting NaNoWrimo while one has a full undergraduate course load, midterms turning into finals, and an internship is enough to drive one crazy. I got more than 6,000 words and I understand that is pretty good considering the other stuff I had to do, but still, my pride and progress was hurting because I planned what I was going to do and I thought it would be cake to hit 50k. Shoot, I was going for 80k. I’ve been doing a writing course on my own time and past me had a plan up to the beginning of Act 2. After I got past my outline, I was just going to roll with whatever popped in my head and jam on the keyboard. Regardless of struggling with my writing in combination with my semester, I would definitely recommend NaNoWrimo!
Officially signing up on the site gave me this sense of being part of a community and the feeling only grew as I kept getting encouraging emails about writing and seeing #NaNoWrimo pop up on social media to address questions and provide encouragement. Everyone has their own process when it comes to writing and it is easy to feel like you are stuck in your own head, but NaNoWrimo pulls you out of it and helps you realize that there are literally tons of other people who are in a similar position, from the writers who have written tons of books to the people who are just getting started (like me)! My advice to people who would want to do NaNoWrimo is to mind how much you have on your plate because you may not hit 50k and that’s OK! Committing itself is a huge accomplishment. Getting down a few sentences to a few hundred to a few thousand words is an accomplishment. The only reason you should feel sour is if your few sentences came from lack of effort, but if you only genuinely had enough time to write a few sentences towards your novel and you tried your best with those sentences, don’t be so hard on yourself. (This talk is for you and me. Even though I know this to be true, it still sucks when you have grandiose visions that don’t come to fruition even though logically everything is still ok.)
Beyond my experience with NaNoWrimo and talking about writing in general, I learned that I can write 1,000 words in an hour. The reason why I say this is because I personally needed some kind of formula to my writing sit downs considering that I want to associate my story with a school project and I am on a time crunch, but that formula does not consist of “Oh, I’m going to write exactly this!” I may come in with an idea that I scrawled on a sticky note or I may not have a blooming clue, but I always make it a point to not stop writing until I hit 1,000 words. Sometimes, that 1,000 does not come in an hour. Sometimes, it’s 45 minutes and other times it’s 2 hours. I also want to make sure that you understand that I am not NOT SAYING that this is how you should write. This is how I feel like I need to write.
There are people out there who write 200 words in an hour, perhaps because they want to be more thoughtful about what they say, as opposed to me who will write drivel until I hit something good. There are also people out there that put me to shame with 20,000 words in a weekend, while a good weekend for me would be 4,000 if I sat down in 4 sessions to write with an hour each. The point is that we do not need to compare our writing progress in a way that makes us feel terrible about our writing journeys. Your beginning writing experience will be different from someone else who is also just starting and you would both be very different from household names like John Green and that’s OK! If you are going to look at other people’s writing processes, I would suggest that you do so with the intention of inquiry and learning. Does this person’s writing process look like something that could work for me? Does this process need tweaking to fit my needs? Is this person’s perfect process a terrible idea for me? Ask those questions and also, just write and you’ll find out what works. The hardest thing about writing is doing it, so just keep swimming make some time to buckle down at your keyboard or notebook.
If you guys have any NaNoWrimo questions or other writing stuff you would like to discuss, leave a comment/question.