Hey everyone. Since I rarely post anything on Facebook and have limited my Twitter time somewhat, I’m going to make an effort to start posting blog entries. I have no idea what I’ll talk about. They’ll probably be long, somewhat boring, and rambling. But I don’t want this space to be all lonely and empty, so blogging it is. But since I really, honestly do not have any idea what to talk about, I figured I’d start with something simple.
NaNoWriMo starts in two days! I’m so freaking excited. I love NaNo- I wrote three books in the last year or so, and they all happened during NaNo or Camp NaNo months. So I figured, for a first-blog-post-that-isn’t-news, I’d share some love for that.
For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it’s basically a thing where a bunch of writers get together online (and sometimes not online) and pledge to write a book, amounting to at least 50,000 words, in a month. (Or, during April and July, for Camp NaNo, you can set your word count goal to whatever you like.) It’s sort of intense and fun and exciting and stressful and helpful all at once, and I love it.
I’ve been seeing a lot of posts around the internet about how much people dislike NaNo. And I get that—it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t want to write that fast—that’s okay. Some people don’t like the pressure. Also okay. It’s a busy time of year, and that’s a lot of writing to stuff in, too. There are a lot of reasons why NaNo might not work for someone, and it’s completely, 100% all right not to want to do it. It doesn’t make people who do do NaNo better or more professional or even faster writers. It just means we all write differently.
But NaNo does work for me, and I think there are two reasons why. The first is simply because of the pressure of a commitment. I say I’m going to do NaNo, and whether I tell one person, or the whole internet, I’ve made a commitment and I want to keep it. If I don’t, I’ll be disappointed with myself. (Let me say, though, that if anyone starts NaNo and doesn’t finish or doesn’t like it or just doesn’t do as much as they wanted to, that’s absolutely okay, and nothing to be disappointed about. I’m sure there will be a month when it just doesn’t happen for me, too. But for right now, the pressure I place on myself keeps me writing.) Also, it’s a sprint. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I know exactly how much I have to do, and I know that I’ll get to rest, hopefully with a book I’ve written, at the end.
The second reason NaNo works for me is because it helps me write without over thinking. Normally when I’m writing, I’m wondering if I’m doing it wrong, if it’ll actually work this time or if I’ll find I’ve lost the ability, if this will be a book people will want to read, a book someone will want to publish. Will it be too similar to another book I’ve written? Will people like this character/setting/plot/conflict? Should I change a bunch of things around? Is this topic a good idea? Will it be boring? Too complicated? Should I maybe stop and rethink it all? And that only scratches the surface of stuff I worry about.
I’m not saying those are bad things to think about—you really probably do need to consider all of that. But wow does it get in the way of actually getting words on the page. And I can’t fix anything or make anything better if there aren’t words to fix to begin with. I do think you need to sort of shut the outside world from your mind when you’re writing, and that’s hard to do, for me, when I have a lot of time to think things over.
During NaNo, it’s different. There’s no time to change things a million times, no time to go back and edit or delete and rewrite. You just have to keep writing. Looking forward. And this helps me not only get words on the page, but they tend to be words I really like. The only outside thought that gets in is the pressure to write. And the support from friends, which is basically the best feeling ever.
So yeah. I really like NaNo. If you don’t, that’s okay. But if you’d like to try it, and you’d like to buddy up with me, you can find me over on the NaNoWriMo website as eli_lang.