I’m there. I’m done. It was a long month and there is a reason you haven’t heard from me. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
I went into NaNoWriMo thinking how hard can it be. Most of my blog entries are around 1500 words and I can pump out one of those like it’s no big deal. To complete the challenge, I needed to write just over 1600 words per day. I started off hot with close to 6000 words right off the bat. It gave me a good sense of security to know that as long as I wrote just about each day, I would be ok.
I actually managed to take weekends off most of the time, or at the very least, reduce the amount of words I was producing on the weekends. Like any job, I think it’s important to take a break. But in order to get to my 50,000 word count by November 30, that meant I needed to write at least 200o words or more per day. And some days, you just aren’t feeling the love. It’s normal and natural.
But it was so much harder than I ever anticipated. Writing 1500 words with a topic in my head that I wanted to cover, emotion spurring me on, I never worried about word count. It soon became my obsession and that’s not how I want to write. Microsoft Word actually shows a word count at the bottom of the screen. It was both a blessing and a curse. It gave me goals to push for and on the days that I didn’t want to write, I kept my eye on it more than other days where the writing just came forth naturally.
It’s hard writing 50,000 words about a specific subject. The most disappointing thing for me was that I felt they were just words. There was no emotion coming into play. It felt bland and boring. Forced.
I kept my topic non fiction and I’m glad I did for my first book. The idea of having to create characters and storylines with the pressure of 30 days and 50,000 words was just a bit too daunting. It was hard enough doing it in non fiction. Some day I’d love to get there and write something fictional. But for now, I have the basis for a non fiction novel. It needs work and some love and most of all, it needs time. More than the 30 allotted days that is NaNoWriMo.
The goal was quantity over quality and that’s what I got. But I got so much more than that. I wrote a book. I wrote a f*cking book! In 30 days. Yes, it’s trash, but it’s a book. I can also look at it as a first draft for something that will hopefully become much better over the course of time. If anything, I jumped over a hurdle that had been holding me back for years. I’d always wanted to write a book but didn’t know where to start. But when that starting gun went off, I had no choice but to start writing.
I read once that the difference between the way men work and women work is that men just jump in and start working where as women need to research every possibility first before they can start. This may not always be the case for both sexes, but it definitely has been a barrier for me and one that I’ve been working on breaking down. This was one step in the right direction.
It’s also given me some direction on where I want to head in the future. Right now, I don’t see it being a bestselling author of novels. But I do see that writing short articles is something I fare much better at and perhaps that is a direction that I need to start thinking about. This week I joined a group of writers of all types that are meeting up later this week to brainstorm in Amsterdam. I’m going. I’m jumping into this and will see what happens. The worst case is that I decide I don’t want to be a writer, but the best case could be so much more.
Knuffels, kussen and another 700 words down,