Friday, December 7, 2012

Things NaNoWriMo taught me

National Novel Writing Month has been over for a week now, and I have to say, I kind of miss it. I miss having a big goal to work towards, I miss making up random storylines and having the freedom to put anything I want down on paper, I miss that rush to the finish when I get to be a bit of a bitch and leave the house in a mess and the cupboards empty. But I do love knowing that I finished something.
I'm a major project person, I'm an ideas person, I'm a list person. My favourite feature of my new smartphone is the memo pad. However, I have a bad habit of making lists and starting projects, and moving onto the next one before the previous one is finished, or even halfway. There are empty canvases leaning against the wall at home, on which I know exactly what I'm going to paint but haven't got around to it yet, there's a half finished painting sitting on newspaper with paint and brushes beside it ready to be used, my computer is full of files with notes, research, and unfinished manuscripts sitting there waiting for me.
So although my novel is nowhere near fit to be read by anyone yet, the point is that I finished it. I have never written 50,000 words of anything in my life, ever. So for that, I'm proud of myself.

So here are some of the things NaNoWriMo taught me:

Write a story about what you know, something that requires no research, so you can spend more time writing, less time researching
Don't be afraid to make things up, no matter how ridiculous
Write with the knowledge that no one is going to read your first draft
Being descriptive about everything not only makes up words, it also makes you braver with your writing. In writing my other novel before NaNo, I avoided being too descriptive for fear of boring my readers, but when I did NaNo, I found myself being over descriptive in order to make up the words, which was a good thing because I can edit it down later, and I know now that it's better to have too much than not enough because it means you have something substantial to work with
NaNo is all about the word count, which, for non-finishers like me, was a fantastic learning curve, because it forced me to just get the damn words on the page and worry about sculpting them later

The most important thing NaNoWriMo taught me? That I am capable of fulfilling the dream I've had my whole life, of writing and publishing a novel.

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