Today I will hit 20,000 words in Nanowrimo. It is amazing to me that writing everyday can add up to something tangible and quantifiable. It is amazing that I am just a few days away from hitting the midway point for Nanowrimo. Now there are those out there who will always poo-poo the idea of Nano. The most common phrase I hear is, “if you had wanted to write a novel, you would have done it–Nano seems unnecessary.” There are other negative sentiments out there, but each Nanowrimo I learn something new about myself as a writer. Here is a short list of ideas that this Nanowrimo has thrown into the old percolator:
1. Sometimes, oftentimes, it is not about the book. Crazy. It is about learning the process of writing a book, learning what it takes in one crazy crash course, so that when I am ready to sit down and give this all I have got for months on end I will know what it is going to take. It is about learning my pitfalls as an author. This is training.
2. There is going to be another novel. And another after that. That’s how I am going to get good at this. To keep writing novels, till I learn the things I need to learn.
3. Nanowrimo is only a month. I am not signing a contract, binding me to work for life on this one project. This is a safe place to try things out. Experiment with new ideas, different genres, crazy characters, and plot twists that make you dizzy. I can get things out of my system. I can purge bad habits and stupid ideas, and I can also be so uninhabited that maybe I stumble across a goldmine of writing. Who knows? Everyday with Nano is different.
4. It is okay to fall behind. It is not the end of the world. AND I don’t have to make up what I have lost in one terrifying feat of word count. Slow and steady works just fine. It doesn’t make me less of a writer to spread things out.
5. I am learning this Nano how to be less of a neurotic writer. It helps that I am sort of on a mini writing retreat. But I am in such a healthy environment that it is rubbing off in writing. I might not even have to torture myself over all of this. But I don’t really believe that yet. I might believe it someday. The point is that I am learning that a set schedule, that I repeat everyday is good for me. I wake up and go for a run, get the juices running. I am showered and ready to write by 8:30 or 9:00. I put in 2-3 hours of writing, and then I go about the rest of my day. The best part is that when I leave my sister-in-laws I know that it is a routine that I am easily implement at home.
6. I like to write on couches. Desks are overrated.