First, the good stuff! It’s NaNoWriMo! Congratulations to all who have started this journey for the first time, and a loud “Hazzah!” to everyone who finds themselves back in the throes of NaNoWriMo for a repeat adventure. It’s daunting. It’s difficult. And completing it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever accomplished in my life.
Now for some tougher stuff: It’s mid-November. Mid-NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t added to any word count of anything in two weeks. (You read that right…Not a new word in November…) I meant to jump right in on November 1, but I just couldn’t. Sometimes things happen beyond your control, though, and that’s just life. I am thinking about balance today, because I refuse to let the entire month go by without a word for my characters, or a plot point being reconciled. This post is meant to be as much of a NaNoWriMo pep talk for you as it is for me.
How can I make it all happen? And if you are at a point of this crazy writing month where you haven’t met your writing goals, how can you? Well, for one thing, realize that the month isn’t over. Any writing you do toward your goal is a step in the right direction. Personally, I have to stop looking at the calendar thinking that there is no way to succeed at this, when the reality of it is, that even attempting NaNoWriMo is an incredible accomplishment.
But there is always hope, and hope may appear differently than you expect. A few years ago, our local arts center held a series of NaNoWriMo workshops. We were all different people, some with day jobs, some retirees, others who were just there to see what NaNo was all about. That was my second NaNoWriMo, and the year I began to work on my novel, WORDS IN THE WINDOWSILL. During those workshops, our instructor gave us lots of exercises to help us along.
But no writing time to speak of.
The activities she walked us through approached writing a novel from different angles. For example, we did a lot of sketching, map-making, TV interviewing, role playing, and other things to get us to know our characters and our story on a deeper level.
Some of you might be thinking this is how everyone writes, but not me. To tell you the truth, until the workshops concluded at the end of November, I hadn’t realized how those activities helped me reach and surpass my 50K goal. Up until then, I was worried I was wasting precious time.
It’s those other activities that I am going to rely on when I can’t actually do the writing part. I may or may not reach 50K new words this year, but for me, and this is the balancing part, NaNoWriMo is more about fleshing out a good story. That’s how I plan to measure my success.
So from here on out, if I can’t actually write words into a chapter of my current Work In Progress, I will be planning it in creative ways. I need to know my characters as well as I can, so that when I do have the opportunity to write, I can make the most out of it.
The good news is, my head is in the right place for success. And that novel I was working on during our local NaNoWriMo workshops? WORDS IN THE WINDOWSILL is due to be published this spring with REUTS Publications! I don’t think I need any more motivation than that!
I hope I have encouraged you to keep yourself going through NaNoWriMo. It’s really tough at times, but you can do it!
How do you plan to keep your balance through this month? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!