And it makes me love November all the more for it!
Writers are everywhere. They come in all colors, all shapes, all ages. They work jobs they hate hoping for a chance to do exactly what they love. They toil away at a keyboard, always unsure of themselves, forgoing family, friends and sanity. It’s a consumption disease with no cure. But for those unwilling to go to Writers Anonymous, writing is the greatest drug they will ever do and one they can’t quit.
Some writers can sit down at a keyboard and magic happens almost every time. They don’t fight every word; they don’t fight every paragraph. They can write 5000 words a day with relatively no stress and have a completed novel in two months. Brandon Sanderson and Steven Erikson come to mind.
Then there is the rest of us.
Most beginning writers have a much harder time of it. They are lucky to put down several hundred good words. They question every aspect of the writing craft, from storytelling to character development to theme. Add a healthy dose of uncertainty when it comes to the book ever being read by an agent or editor in New York City, and I’m surprised beginning writers don’t suffer from schizophrenia!
Having written several novels, I’ve lost a lot of those insecurities, or at least found a way to work around them that works for me. But the greatest lesson I have learned is this:
Get the first draft down and finished.
Sounds like an easy lesson to learn but one new writers rarely follow. The book doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to exist. Improved word choice, improved character development, and improved theme can come later. Sadly, most beginning writers don’t know this lesson. They fret about every word. They overwrite dialog. They do any number of things that prevent them from actually finishing the damn book!
That’s why I love NaNoWriMo. Having to write 50,000 words in a month’s time forces people to get the words down—and move on to the next ones. There is no opportunity to go back and edit, edit, edit a passage. It’s all about getting that first draft down in 30 days.
I’m trying to do half the word count needed. I have several other projects going right now that need my attention but being forced to write 1,000 words every day is keeping me on my toes already! And by the end of the month, I’ll have a sizable chunk of my novel written.
Any of you partaking in NaNoWriMo this year? Ever done it in the past?