November is National Novel Writing Month. NaNo as it is known is an amazing and important tool for a lot of writers (aspiring and published alike), but every year, I get asked why. A lot of my friends don’t get it (it sounds like pure Hell!), 50,000 words in 30 days (is that even possible?!?)… Well, it is rough and yes, it is possible. For me, it’s vital.
When I put my nose to the grindstone, I know I can write 70,000 words in 30 days (that’s approximately 2,334 words a day). Not every word will be a keeper, but that’s why there are revisions to every book. I never publish a book that hasn’t at least been read through to make sure there aren’t gaping holes and weird turns that mean nothing to the story… Yep, even those strange Aislinn Cain sidetracks about meaningless shit is carefully weighed on whether they belong in the story. All those bizarre things that Nadine Daniels thinks about space stations and all the bizarre circumstances that lead to pearls breaking and dogs burying turkeys are thought out in great detail.
This means I can technically write a novel in 30 days. It will take another couple of weeks to make it readable, but it can be written. Sometimes, I need to be reminded of that. I get so caught up in the other stuff around me, that I forget to write. I forget I can write. I forget I need to write. Not just for my readers, but for myself as well. Writing is therapeutic. It slows my brain down. It helps me sleep. It helps my stress level. It helps keep me from randomly spewing pointless trivia to my friends and family (I can spew it to the readers!).
So, accomplishing a NaNo novel is a good reminder that I am a writer who is capable of writing. Also, some of my best work comes when I’m writing for the purpose of writing (Elysium Dreams was a NaNo novel).
For those just starting to write, it’s a good motivator. NaNo is about getting the words on the page, not making the book perfect. As writers, we occasionally become distracted by the details. Not the written details, but the stuff that we should worry about later (plot holes, spelling, grammar, too much prose, not enough prose, does the dialogue make sense, and oddly, what the hell am I naming my characters… which sometimes, naming a character is the hardest part of writing).
This month, I will be working away on Mutilated Dreams. I even have Covered Creatively working on the cover (occasionally, a cover provides inspiration when I get stuck). I’m working at a good clip on it. My goal is 2,300 words a day this month. Today, I managed to write over 5.000… a little cushion for nights I prefer to play video games to writing.