Thursday, November 14, 2013

Day 13 - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

After thirteen days of this emotional roller-coaster ride called NaNoWriMo,  I have now made it through the "Week 2 NaNoWriMo Doldrums" and am over halfway to the coveted goal of 50,000 words.

The doldrums  in this context simply means -   a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression. Not to be mistaken with the nautical reference of the doldrums -  a belt of calm and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

But, what an awesome place to be -  to write your novel in November on a sailboat in the ocean where the winds are calm and the sound of the water is so relaxing... sorry, was really visualizing that scene for just a moment and was shamelessly emulating  Word Girl.

I am currently at 25,443 words!

I thought I would be so much more excited about this accomplishment, and I was for about five minutes.

Then reality came crashing down upon me and the thought of another 25,000 words to finish this crazy endeavor seemed like another humongous mountain to climb - after just having climbed Mt. Everest in the  first  two weeks (in the literal sense, of course).

Which led to the most horrifying thought ... that my best plot twists and turns were already written in the first two weeks.  <very heavy sigh>

Miraculously, the words of  my mother's many sayings flashed in my mind: 

"Pull yourself up by your boot-straps and dust yourself off".

"You can do anything that you set your mind to do". 

So, I took her sage advice and hammered out another 500 words last night for good measure.

I know you all have questions, so I will  attempt to answer the most pressing ones here, such as  - What have the first two weeks been like for a first-time NaNoWriMo participant and what is my plan for the remaining weeks?

  • First and foremost, I have learned to PACE MYSELF.  The jump out of the gate at the beginning of November is not an indicator of the normal daily average for word count that one will have after the first week.
  • Obviously, there will be bad days, mental blocks and distractions.  Write through these moments, even if the writing is total and complete rubbish.  You can edit the manure out at a later time.
  • Which leads to the next point. DO NOT EDIT in November.  No matter how hard you try not to, you will be tempted to edit your manuscript while you are writing. DON'T DO IT!  This is a slippery slope and will certainly  lead you into a doom loop of writing, deleting, re-writing and re-deleting words.
  • Apologize ahead of time for cancelling Thanksgiving. You know you will sneak away to write on this holiday, so own it and accept it before the day comes.
  • Let your friends and family know that you truly appreciate their support and encouragement.  Assure them that you will get back to household chores and social commitments starting on December 1st. 
  • Most importantly, try to HAVE FUN during the remaining weeks.  

If you do not reach the 50k goal, so what?  You are much better off than you were at the beginning of November.  You have dedicated time and effort to YOUR story and that is worth its weight in gold.

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