That time of year when everyone is midway through their training for the famous writer marathon – NaNoWriMo!
For those who are blissfully unaware NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, though really it’s been international almost since it’s start – one simply does not throw away an awesome title like that. It’s when experienced writers and the inexperienced hopefuls all come together in one place and vow to churn out 50,000 words in a single month. It’s fun. It’s exhausting. It’s more than capable of snapping the resolve of experienced writers and hopefuls alike like straw.
Funny, I wrote the first draft of my second novel “Ash of Ambitions” during my first NaNoWriMo. If my first novel was an experiment in a well planned and carefully thought out novel with multiple protagonists, my second was a fly by the seat of my pants funtime fumble with only one heroine. I went into NaNoWriMo with nothing more than an idea and a daily word count goal.
That’s right, I had nothing written down when I first started writing “Ash of Ambitions” I didn’t even know what Ash’s real name was, let alone prepared character sheets or (heaven forbid) an outline for the entire novel. Since I’d already tried writing a novel from a rather rigid plan (more about that whenever I get to reviewing the book used) and stalled out around 45,000 words later I figured I just wasn’t cut out for planning. Giving the pants side of the equation a chance seemed like the logical next step.
It was a special kind of hell.
Oh, I wrote the novel. Finished out the month with my 50,000 words. But that NaNoWriMo was the first time I ever really beat my head on the brick wall of writers block and refused to let it rule my schedule. That didn’t even take into account the twin stressors of my full time job, my live in boyfriend and my brother who was staying with us at the time.
In the end I learned a lot of really good things: how to write when you’ve got no idea what you’re writing about, how to write when you’re pretty sure every word is crap, how to tune out the distractions of reality to concentrate on your characters and that despite their whining full grown men really can take care of themselves if they have to. Most importantly I learned that having a little bit of an idea of where you’re going is a whole lot better than none at all.
So my advice to anyone thinking of joining in this years marathon NaNoWriMo session, take the time now to get yourself prepared for the actual event. You’re totally allowed to do so and only the really idiotic show up for a marathon the day of without doing any prep work.