So, NaNoWriMo is lurking around the bend. If you’re a writer and you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to learn more.
I first stumbled upon NaNo in 2010. Three 50,000-word novels later, I decided I’m not participating in NaNo this year. At least, not in the traditional sense.
You see, I have this book that I started this past spring. I wrote a rough draft, put it aside in April-ish. Wrote a new rough draft (‘cuz the first one had the wrong antagonist in it), put it aside in June-ish. Wrote a first draft (to me, rough and first are NOT the same drafts), put it aside at the end of August. Wrote a second draft, put it aside until October 31.
Belatedly, I realized that NaNo starts on November 1st. Either I join in on the NaNo festivities and write another story idea that I have, OR I stick to my plan of working on the third draft to my WIP. Doing both in November is impossible due to Life.
After meditating on this (not really, I paced my house with a beer in hand), I figured, “I don’t need another 50,000-word novel.” Deciding to work on the third draft of my WIP during one of the most popular writing fests of the year was actually a major growth spurt for me.
You see, I tend to avoid. I love writing and creating new worlds and characters. However, I have only committed myself twice to stories all the way to the proofread, query-ready, final draft. And I have half a dozen stories that I want to write. They’re not stories that I have given up on, but they are stories that challenge me in the simple way that they need to be finished.
I love NaNo for its positive energy, emotional support, and encouragement. I am proud of myself for “winning” NaNo three times, proud of myself for giving life to three story ideas. But there is a certain safety in this venture if that is all a writer does.
That’s when I came up with the perfect solution. Why not use NaNo’s positive energy and support to help me write my third draft?
This could be considered sacrilege, or breaking NaNo laws, or abusing the system. But frankly, dear reader, I don’t give a damn. I work my tail off just so I can have one hour of writing a day (and it’s a freakishly early hour!). I should be able to use NaNo the way I see fit.
Seriously though, when it really comes down to it, I think that NaNoWriMo isn’t just about a crazed 30 days of writing. Sure, that’s the hype and the marketing tool. But, really, NaNo is about supporting writers who want to write a story. The bottom line for some of us isn’t 50,000 words– it’s writing, period. I just want to get my stories written.
NaNoWriMo is beneficial to any writer who:
Works well with deadlines.
Thrives in a supportive community.
Schedules specific writing time.
Wants to write a story.
I can safely say I have no trouble putting down 50,000 words for any given story idea. So, I don’t need NaNo for that anymore. However, I can make use of NaNo for other aspects of my writing. I could use it to help me develop characters, shape my dialogue exchanges, reconstruct a weak beginning, OR write the third draft to my WIP.
What’s key about NaNo is that writing comes first. So, why not make use of this gold mine of writing support and opportunity and use it the way you see fit.
What are you doing this NaNo?