Lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo:
#1.) They call it a month of literary abandon. More like literary Abbadon, that leaves your mind a wasteland of creativity after a locust swarm.
#2.) On Dec. 1st, they change the website name back to NahNoHellNo, because that’s how I feel when I look at that website right now.
#3.) There are writers out there that write 10,000 words a day and finish NaNo in the first week. Other, more capable writers than myself are able to finish NaNo on time, with a clean first draft which only needs to be cleaned up of a few typos before it is submitted to publishers, bought on the first submission and become best-sellers.
I hate all these people.
#4.)I can write a novel in a month. It’s a crappy novel that ends in the middle of a sentence because when I realized I hit 50,000 words, I said, **** it, I’m done! But oh sure, I can write a novel in a month. Yay me!
#5.) I swear more now than I did in October. Interesting.
#6.) Writing 2,000 words a day seems like a perfectly reasonable pace. It’s Stephen King’s pace and he claims he only writes until lunch, according to his memoir, ‘On Writing’. But 2,000 words a day for me is too much, I’m sorry to say. By the end of that particular mileage, I’m writing really dumb sentences and everything gets bloated and mushy. It’s gross. 1,000 words a day is a good pace for me and something I’m confident I can maintain on a consistent basis. Thank you, NaNo, for teaching me this.
#7.)I can only comfortably write in 500 word chunks at a time before my back starts to bark at me and my wrists and elbows start to tingle. Which reminds me, I need to eat better, drink way more water and start walking again. I also need a new office chair and desk. Heck, I need an office. Right now I’m writing in the corner between the highway intersection of my living room and kitchen. I guess I shouldn’t complain. One of these days my kids will be grown and out of the house and I’ll be typing in the converted kids room I made into my office and miss being interpreted every five minutes to look up Minecraft parody songs on YouTube. But yeah, finally, I will be uninterrupted and alone as I type on my tear-stained keyboard full of regret. They grow up so fast!
#8.) Everyone who wants to be a writer should do a NaNo, or at least attempt it. For all the grind and desperation it can bring on, it’s a ‘fun’ experience and it’s rare to get to write something with the support of a community who has joined you in the endeavor and pledged to cheer you along the way.
#9.) People who make a living as professional writers – every month is their NaNoWriMo, right? But it’s the jerky ones sniff at our meager accomplishments (I’m talking to you, Scalzi), while the cool ones are on the sidelines cheering us on and handing out Styrofoam cups of encouragement, or even joining in the fun themselves.
#10.) Sometime, in December, I will be faced with what I have created when I start revising. I will be utterly shocked at how terrible it is through most of it, wondering if I’ll ever improve or if I’m destined to writing like a caveman. In other places, where I find I don’t remember ever writing the passage, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, or see something that sparks off another idea, or come across a paragraph that I can work with and can see clearly how to bridge one idea to the other. It will be as much an emotional roller coaster revising it as it was writing the damn thing, but at least it’s there on the table with a heart beat.
Albeit, a weak one. 🙂