Friday, December 4, 2009

NaNo Notes, or So What's the Big Deal Anyway?

The NaNoWriMo is an experience from which everyone should gain something, something to share, something to make one a better writer, or maybe even a wiser person. Okay, that last one might be telling me I'm getting just a bit too Zen about this. So, I'll just stick with the "making one a better writer" aspect.

Here are a few thoughts I have come away with and I'd like to share. Take 'em or leave 'em. I'll admit the whole affair at some point changes you ... lots ... and often ... and it can scare you ... because you may not recognize yourself ... but then you come back to you in the end. And hopefully you can say ... (here you reread paragraph one). Now, on to the thoughts:

1. Writing that flows from hour to hour, day to day, week to week is euphoric and painful at the same time. I have to say there is nothing like it. You become consumed with this other world, i.e. your story, and it haunts you, even when you're not writing, you're writing in your head.

2. Don't sweat the small stuff. (Okay, I know, I'm a pirate, a thief of words, but it fits so well here, I had to do it!) It's understandable that when you write this way, under these conditions, you will find word usage rather, shall I say, looking as if Webster's Dictionary was just culled down to a mere 100 words! Not to worry, the story shall flow and you know that words can be changed ... LATER!

3. A rose is a rose, but a story is not just a story, it's YOUR story! What I mean is when you think half way through, or however many times through, that your story sounds like all the others, remember it's in your words, with your tone and voice ... your unique style going to work putting those words down from pen to paper, from fingers and keyboard to computer. THE STORY IS YOURS!

4. Hey! I think I get this and I do know what I'm doing! This is your life: several hours x 1700 words x 30 days = one great story! Okay, maybe not great, but it will be :-) The beauty of writing this way, everyday, is that your story feels like you're at the movie theatre, watching it up on the big screen. It really becomes easy to progress from one scene to the next, to know what event should happen after the last, to recall details of what you've already written down. At least for me it was this way. I never left the story for long before returning to it. There is something to be said for discipline and writing everyday, for writing continuously when creating that first draft. I say, getting bogged down with finding that right word or rewriting that one little scene twenty times over messes with the flow of the story. And like so many have said, there's time for picking it apart later. JUST WRITE THE DARN STORY! GET IT DOWN! SPIT IT OUT! NOW!

5. It's my party and I'll write if I want to! (I'm just full of it today, aren't I?) Sinclair Lewis once said "It is impossible to discourage the real writers. They don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write." So, to all the naysayers, to all the negative Nancie's, to all the poo-pooers who think you can't write, you tell 'em, "It's my party!". Writing is a very intimidating experience. Like golf, one minute you're thinking, hey, I've got this game now, and you just know there's an eagle or hole-in-one coming. Then in the next moment, there's a shamefully embarrassing, discouraging shot, not just any old bogey, but maybe a nine shot deal where you want to crawl into the golf bag and just disappear. Well, writing can be like that, where you think you can't do it. You stink. It's all a bunch of drivel. And then you have this moment. It's a gloriously perfect moment of clarity where it all flows. Think of that moment whenever the bogey is trying to ruin your party. Remember the shiny things that make writing so great. DON'T BE DISCOURAGED! And maybe you'll finish a NaNoWriMo next year, and maybe you'll polish that story and sell it to a publisher, and maybe you will really feel it and mean it when you say, "I'm one of those real writers." Besides, what else have you got to do for several hours a day, every day of of the week for an entire month?!


Tina said...

Glad to see you back in the blogosphere. Well done on all your hard (fun) work. Inspiring words!

Sarah said...

I admire your courage in taking this on and finishing it. I'm sure it is a great story.

teacherwriter said...

Thanks ladies. And I'm working on it :-)

arlee bird said...

NaNo is an amazing experience for those who have lacked writing discipline like myself. I have always said that I liked to write but when it came right down to it I really didn't write that much. For me two big things made me become compelled to write: posting a blog article every single day and meeting the NaNo challenge. Now I've experienced the discipline of regular writing and I can say I like to write and have something to show for it.

teacherwriter said...

arlee... So right you are! I found it almost cathartic, and a great sense of accomplishment.