From the Desk OfAMANDA FOLSON
I decided to do National Novel Writing Month (known as NaNoWriMo or NaNo) this year because I’ve been toying with a novel idea for a while. If you’re not familiar with the process, NaNoWriMo challenges writers to finish a 50,000 word manuscript in the month of November. In order to reach the goal, participants need to crank out ~1,667 words per day. Depending on how quickly you write, this could be an hour or an evening. At the end of the month, participants with 50,000 words or more are considered winners and are given a certificate and some prizes. Most of the prizes are discounts on software, editing, and self-publishing.
I chose to call my novel Samsara as it had a heavy emphasis on reincarnation. I’d been mulling over the idea of it for quite some time and decided to just go for it. Gumption is all you really need to write a book. Getting it published takes a bit more work ;).
We’ll get to how well I did in a bit, but here are some things that I learned:
And now the moment of truth.
I didn’t win. In fact, I only made it to 14,144 words of 50,000 (~28% of my goal). As it turns out, I was a lot busier in November than I thought I’d be. I also started to develop an RSI issue that I wanted to get looked at before it got any worse. The doctor told me to lay off the computer in the evenings so I did.
But here’s the cool part: I was so stoked to write that I wrote all of that in under 2 weeks. Am I sad that I stopped? A little bit. However, I’m also glad that I didn’t win because it would have been much harder for me going forward. My plot started to not make sense (hence #1 up there) and it was going to take some serious work to get it back on track. I realized that I was defecating words on the page instead of writing sensible things. Desperate to make my word count, I found myself making things up that I knew would be axed later on. My novel deserved better than half-assed writing for the sake of meeting an arbitrary goal. What NaNoWriMo did for me was give me an awesome starting place to make this novel into something great. Knowing that the goal is damn near impossible if I want to have any semblance of a life, I’ll be back in 2014. I hope to see you there!