Monday, November 16, 2015

Note to Self (from Junot Diaz) & Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

How is everyone doing with NaNoWriMo so far?? I have personally released myself from the bonds of National Novel Writing Month. Yep – released. No, I'm not "giving up" or "quitting." I'm setting myself FREE!!!

What I've learned is that the hype & excitement over NaNoWriMo is incredible. It's forced me to be excited, once again, about the stories that have been swirling around my head. Like air kick, back flip, hi-YAH excited. It's forced me to write a thousand words, pause, and rethink the story I want to tell. And it's made me more focused about who my characters are and what they become.

What I've learned is that my villain is not the villain, my love interest is not the love interest, the friendship is more important than the romance, and bad decisions are all relative. And I think, I hope, that that's what makes for complex characters and sophisticated, compelling stories.

What I've learned is that writing by hand in a composition book is easier said than done. But it's still perhaps less daunting than facing a white screen on a computer with your cursor blinking. Blinking. Blinking.

What I've learned is that getting words out, in any way you can, is what matters. And that a first draft is destined to be a trainwreck. And that is okay.

But what I've also learned is that the pressure of writing 50,000 words, and being surrounded by people who tweet or blog about their progress ("11k words and I'm only on Day 2!" or "I FINISHED DRAFT 1 OF MY NOVEL IN 4 DAYS" – Cait from Paper Fury, I'm looking at you, you incredible supernatural being), gives me mega anxiety and doesn't motivate me at all, even though I know in my head that this isn't a competition.

So yes, I hereby declare that I am no longer tied to the NaNoWriMo machine.

But to all those who have been chugging along on their novels – good job and good luck. And to those of you who have similarly decided to write your novel on your own terms and your own timeline, I throw a fistful of confetti in your general direction. Huzzah! These words of wisdom belong you to you, too.

"A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway." – Junot Diaz

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