Another NaNo November is coming to an end and unlike most Wrimos, I am not at burnout, probably because I quit after week one. I have instead been follow the progress of other writers and all their joys and woes. What I have noticed, now that its all over, is a lot of writers looking back over their monthly marathon of writing and thinking ‘what complete utter rubbish’. But the Writer is ever an optimistic creature and many believe they can salvage at least 20000 words from their expedition. For myself, even though I bailed out, I have also achieved something this year.
Some writers condemn NaNoWriMo as a waste of energy. How can anyone possible write a decent 50000 word first draft in 30 days. I really don’t know if it is possible, but NaNoWriMo is more then just writing a novel. A writer once told me that if I seriously wanted to be a writer then I would have to write everyday, my heart sank. So I signed up for my first attempt at NaNoWrimo alone, I don’t think I lasted a week, all inspiration dried up and with it my self confidence as a writer. It prompted me to join a writing course because I wasn’t giving up.
The following year I signed up again, this time I joined the regional forum and took part in events. The result was success of a sort. I had a 50000 word novel which was at best terrible but I had managed to write something everyday. I felt like a proper writer. And as a bonus I now have a circle of writing friends who are helpful and supportive. I didn’t keep up the writing though and my scribbling slowed down to once every two weeks.
This year I signed up again, determined to do better then last year and have something worth editing. So I planned out my novel first, from beginning to end, something I’ve never done before. Unfortunately I never got past the first chapter, because of personal circumstances I had to quit. But I have the outline for a good novel now, not just a vague idea. And I haven’t been idle during November. I’ve written a couple of articles for a magazine, done some more research for another novel, started a short story and I’ve been keeping up my blogs. I’ve probably written about 30000 words in total.
So NaNoWriMo is more then just writing a novel, it can also be a learning curve if you want to learn a lesson, which lessons you learn is up to you. For me, I’ve learned a few things.
Lesson 1, Learn Your Craft, it helps to have some idea about how to write.
Lesson 2, Don’t Go it Alone, family and friends are a great support but only other writers know the hell you go through when your MCs eyes are suddenly the wrong colour.
Lesson 3, Know When to Quit, my novel wasn’t ready to be written this month and I wasn’t ready to write it. I will keep it a while longer and continue with my other WIP.
And the writer who implied I wasn’t serious about writing because I didn’t write every single day, well he was wrong. I am a writer.