It’s been a week since NaNoWriMo ended. Well, almost a week. Ok, technically over a week, since I officially hit the 50K mark last Tuesday. But that’s besides the point.
I’ve spent the last eight days avoiding my computer at home (I’m sort of stuck in front of my computer at work, so it’s hard to avoid there) and ignoring my brain when it nags me to write more. I guess that’s one disadvantage to binge writing – when the binge is over, you really don’t want to do it any more.
For a week.
Then the craving sets in again and your fingers start to itch. Your mind tumbles through millions of plot twists that could be implemented in your next story. Your life seems a bit… boring… without the drama of word wars, the psychedelic images created by random prompts and the interesting social engagements that come with NaNoWriMo.
Writing is an addiction people.
More specifically, I think NaNoWriMo might be an addiction.
But it’s one of those “good for you addictions”, like being addicted to milk, or running, or fruit. If those addictions are even possible (I feel like they should be). Oh oh, or being addicted to vitamins – though I’ve heard that too many vitamins are bad for you… something about your liver.
NaNoWriMo was a great experience. A majestic and wonderful month of meeting new people, and challenging myself as a writer. Quite a few of my NaNo buddies succeeded – they too are proud owners of a NaNoWriMo winner’s badge.
I learned quite a few things participating in NaNoWriMo…
- A Writer’s Network is one of the most important things a writer can have to strengthen not only their writing skills, but to help create more dynamic and believable stories. I’ve discovered how different it is to have people in the same room as you who are as excited about writing their story as you are about writing yours. Asking them a question about plot is easy and painless because they’re doing the same. This blew my mind a little bit. Not a lot though, because I still needed my mind. So here’s a shout out to all of my NaNo buddies who helped me get over that massive writer’s block and gave me to the push I needed to succeed! You know who you are… and you are awesome! :)
- Writing every day is NOT easy & you will constantly feel like you should be writing even when you’ve hit your daily goal. This is a good thing. This is a thing that should carry over to every day for the entire year. And it sort of has. I still have that nagging feeling that I’m supposed to be writing (and I guess technically I should be) but it’s not as strong. I’m actually worried that it’ll fade and eventually the nagging will be gone and I’ll be left with no drive to write. Perhaps I should set myself my own personal monthly goals (not 50K though… that’s a November thing and will remain a November thing). Hmmm… I should get a buddy involved.
- Writing for the sake of writing is the best thing a writer could do. This is so incredibly true and I think it’s why NaNoWriMo was invented in the first place. Your story/novel/whatever will be edited. A first draft IS NOT a final draft (and never should be). Editing is the second step. Writing is the first step. So why go back and edit AS you write? That’s counter-productive and yet EVERYONE does it. Well, that’s a broad generalization. Let me rephrase… yet ALMOST EVERYONE does it. I’m doing it right now. If there’s is one thing I will take away from this whole experience is that I need to turn my personal editor on mute for the duration of the first draft. Then, once I’ve got the whole draft out of my brain, I can go back and edit.
- Writing for the sake of writing is the best thing a writer could do. This point needed repeating because it’s true for two reasons. The first, as stated above. And the second because that dreaded “writer’s block” can be overcome by writing. Just writing. Look outside and write about the weather. Describe the room your character is in. Just WRITE. Your plot will come in, grab your brain and yank in the direction you need to go next. Or, set yourself a time limit and type as fast as you can – I can’t guarantee that it’ll get you passed that writer’s-block-that’s-really-a-hump, but it’s incredibly likely that by the end of your set time frame, you will be inspired or at least back on track.
- Random Prompts & Character Quirks make your story more dynamic and thus, more believable. Throughout the month, my ML (Municipal Liaison) posted these prompts that we were supposed to include in our story. In addition, there were random prompts provided by my NaNo buddies during word wars and what not. Incorporating these required some skill and imagination – when you succeeded, you realized that the scene you’d created was a great way to add depth to a side character or make your world just a little less linear and a little more real. That, my friends, is important. You want your world, your characters, to all be real and relate-able. Prompts do this. Or they completely mess you up. Either way, it’s fun!
Well, those are the things I had on my mind today about NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure there are a few other things I’ve learned that I’ve forgotten to include here. But that’s ok, because this post is pretty long.
If you’re a writer and want to participate in monthly writing goals, let me know! I can set something up here so that we can all keep track – maybe on the first of every month I’ll post the month’s writing goal, then we can chat in the comments and what not? Whatever works!