What NaNoWriMo Left Me With.

I may have been a bit too caps-happy with that title. This is a blog, though. I’m not too worried about grammar and nit-picky business. If you’re looking for stressed out, red-eyed, panting accuracy, you’re in the wrong place. And eat my shorts.

Today I was reminded of a certain aspect that NaNoWriMo burned into my forehead. For the unaware, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. During November of every year, thousands of people write (or attempt) a novel of at least 50,000 words. That’s a ton of words in 30 days. I’ve only “won” (conquered the challenge) once, but I’m enormously proud of myself for participating these five years.

In order to complete the challenge, writers have to conquer many demons, including the Inner Editor and the Naysayers. This is a great feat for any writer to accomplish. Still, I’m left with a bizarre side effect of completing a novel at such a breakneck speed.

Taking any writing slowly is a struggle for me now. In this year’s attempt at a second draft/novel, I’ve decided to go slowly and plot out as much as possible. Even in this, I’m bucking a bit by writing further elaborate summaries instead of wordmaps, idea bubbles, or any other ridiculous practice. I feel like I’m making progress now by just sitting with my words and writing at least 250 more each day. Writing a novel in a year is not a ridiculous concept.

Reading Bird by Bird has opened my eyes a bit. The synchronicity of reading it and writing this slow novel is just too coincidental. I’m learning a lot about myself as an artist, writer, and person. The following quotation from E.L. Doctorow has helped me come to terms with the idea of slow progress as an organic writer:

    “It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

~ by Jake Miller on 12 June, 2008.

One Response to “What NaNoWriMo Left Me With.”

  1. Woo hooo!!! You won once? thats wonderful 😀 !!! Congratulations!! Can you share any of your books to read/buy ??

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