For almost as long as I’ve had a Twitter account I can remember seeing this crazy hash tag floating around on my timeline every November. #NanoWriMo. It looked like some strange language and I had no interest in learning more about it. Then, about three years ago, I finally decided to click on it and I was amazed. It turns out, it wasn't some strange language. It was an acronym for National Novel Writing Month. Scores of individuals were writing about doing something that I thought was the craziest, most undo-able thing on earth – they were all trying to write a novel in 30 days. An entire novel in 30 days! It sounded like some sort of Chinese torture that a bunch of poor fools who’d found one another were engaging in and I didn’t want any part of it.
I thought to myself, “How in the heck can anybody write anything worth reading in 30 days?!” I also couldn’t imagine how anybody could find the time to do something so important…well. I’m an English literature major, so I’ve spent years learning about the travails of some of our greatest literary giants as they put together some of the works we love and hold so dear, today. I just could not imagine writing a novel in 30 days! Even though, I’d always intended to do some writing of my own. I’d just never got around to it. But, if there’s one thing that anybody who’s ever finished a novel well knows, when you’ve been bitten by that bug, you have to get it out of you.
So, from December, 2014 to March, 2015, I wrote my first novel, Deferred Consumption, and I was so proud of myself. It was then that I knew I could absolutely write a novel in 30 days – especially with as much encouragement and support as you find in the #NanoWriMo community. So, I’m here and am doing it and it couldn’t be more excited! Right now, at about 7:15 PM on day four I have just over 5,000 words written and I am too excited! Now, I’m not gonna lie, the first three days were a little rough. First of all, I started working way too late in the evening and most of what I managed to write was written through a near Herculean effort. I’m talking head bobbing, just shy of slobbering work. I had no choice! I knew that if I got too far behind, it would be very tough to catch up by the end of November and I’m determined to hit the 50,000 word mark well before then.
Even though I drafted a very thorough outline, what I’d written the first few nights felt so disjointed, I wasn’t too excited about the story. But, I got up early this morning and did some work on the intro and now it feels pretty good, so it’ll be interesting to see how the story evolves in the coming weeks. I’m going to write some more tonight and, now, I’m really excited!
If there’s one thing I’d tell anybody who’s thinking about taking part in #NanoWriMo is that you just have to get in there. Many authors say that they don’t even try to do any heavy editing until well after they’ve finished their manuscript, and only four days in, I have to say, I agree. Just get it down! The first draft is going to be crappy anyway, so don’t waste your time going back and forth over that document like you’re writing freakin’ War and Peace! I would encourage you to create an outline. I know they aren’t always popular with a lot of writers, but they work. They create a really nice road map so you aren’t sitting, staring at a blank screen trying to figure out what to write next. That’s no fun and it’s a motivation killer like no other. When you have an outline, you can see the end, or some semblance thereof, right there on the page.
So, what are you waiting for!? Get off your fanny and get started! Come back and let me know how it’s going. I'm "ShanaJames" on #NanoWriMo, so stop by and say hello! Good luck!