Today marks the beginning of the second week of NaNoWriMo. So, how was week one? Glad you asked. Overall pretty good (I’m ahead of schedule on my word count) and surprisingly educational. I thought NaNo would teach me some things about writing, but I didn’t realize how much and how fast. These are a few of the realizations I came to this week.
Things I Learned In One Week of NaNoing
(nanoing is so a verb)
1. I can write 1600 words a day.
In fact, I can pretty easily write 2000 to 2200 words a day. I have the time, it’s there, and it involves only a little ignoring of my children. I just have to sit down and do it. I’ve only not hit 2000 words one day last week. It was Friday, cleaning day, but really, I was just being lazy and procrastinating, and I still managed 1000 words. I’ve been not writing because I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish anything. Not true. Which leads me to my second lesson learned this week.
2. You don’t have to finish in one sitting
Another reason I haven’t been writing is because I don’t have big chunks of time to sit down and finish something. Well, it doesn’t matter. If I only have a few minutes to write a sentence or two, that’s okay. I don’t need to finish a scene or a page or even a paragraph. It all helps and I don’t lose my train of thought.
3. Writing is work
I enjoy writing, but it can still be work. I realized this week how hard professional writers work. There have been days I didn’t feel like writing. I was at a point in the story that wasn’t flowing easily or I just felt like messing around checking my e-mail or reading blogs. Normally, I just wouldn’t have written anything. I would have let my story wallow, maybe dropped it completely because I was a little stuck. Since I have a deadline of types, I didn’t. And I got past it, again, pretty easily. I hear everywhere to just write, even if it’s crap, you’ll get through it. Turns out, that’s true. Who knew?
4. 50000 words is not a novel
I think I’ll hit my goal, but there will be more writing to do after. I already have places where I want to add things, plot points I need to make stronger, and I need to rework the beginning significantly. Not to mention the revisions that need to be made. I seem to be writing a lot of cliches. It makes me cringe, but I’m not editing right now. Most novels are in the 70k-90k word count range. I may not finish my complete first draft until December. But, I feel like I am going to finish it.
5. Outlining is a good thing
For me at least. Thinking in terms of scenes and writing in shorter chunks works much better for me than just trying to let the characters take me where they will. Some things are happening that I didn’t plan, and that’s okay, but it’s keeping me on track and helping me to not get stuck. My villain is a strong willed bully. He’s been skulking about and causing unexpected issues. I guess that’s his job, but I’m going to have to keep an eye on him. He’s a little sneaky. ;)
and, the most important lesson I learned this week:
6. Writing Makes Me Happy
I like to write. A lot. I’ve been noticeably happier and calmer this week (I think my kids and husband can attest to that). It comes down to me feeling like I’m accomplishing something. It’s concrete and tangible. Raising kids is definitely a delayed satisfaction. I don’t get to see that all my hard work is paying off. It might not be. I won’t know for years if I’ve really screwed my kids up, and by then, it will be too late to undo the damage. With my writing I can look everyday and see my word count growing and my story emerging. It’s very satisfying. I may never be a published author, but this week I learned it doesn’t matter. I just need to write. Need, not want. It’s good for my soul. Maybe my girls will find they have that need too. I’ll be right there encouraging them and helping them any way I can. If nothing else, it’s a lot cheaper than therapy when it turns out I screwed up the parenting thing.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How has the first week been for you?