Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo -aka- Hell Month. Sorta.

You've got everything set up, your desk is perfect, your computer's primed and the clock reads 11.59pm.  The breath held in your chest as you wait is starting to make your ribs ache but your eyes don't leave the clock.  Just as you think you might actually pass out from lack of air it clicks over, DING!  Midnight.  November 1st.  National Novel Writer(or writing I suppose) Month has officially begun.


Sound familiar?  I did NaNoWriMo for the very first time a few years ago.  I was going to university full time, with a full course load and I was doing a work study position (aka, I was working) as well.  I heard about NaNoWriMo and happened to be taking a novel writing course.  What better way to get inspired than to push myself and complete 50,000 words in one month?  It didn't seem so unrealistic, there's 30 days in a month right?  So that's what... say about 1667 words a day if I write every day.  Phshaw!  That's more than doable... so I told everyone that I was doing NaNoWriMo.  I was going to complete my novel in one month!

Week 1 passed.

Week 2 passed.

What happened?

Nothing.  I'd reached the beginning of week 3 and had squat, zip, ziltch, nada, zero... two weeks left and I had to do what!?  I started thinking maybe it would be okay if I didn't do it.  I mean I had other years, there was so much to do, I could be forgiven right?

Wrong.  Apparently I severely dislike telling people I'm going to do something and not doing it.  That I happened to like a professor of mine at the time and I'd kind of mentioned it to him sometime the week before?  Well... I couldn't look bad NOW...

Full time classes, work, and a novel that I already had writer's block for.

I began to write.

And write.

And write.

I didn't sleep, barely ate, was up in my room constantly because not only had I told people I was going to write for NaNoWriMo, see I had forgotten about the 50,000 word goal.  Most novels?  They're around 100,000 words if you're wondering and that's kinda short.  (Word count post here if you're interested in specifics).  And I, being the bright and stupidly brilliant kinda person we can all sometimes be, had told people not only was I going to write 50,000 words, I was going to finish my novel.  Yeah.  The one I had two chapters for...

That one.

Final word count?  104,877 words in my first draft.  In two weeks.

It was totally worth it.

Moral of the story?  Set goals for your self.  Set ridiculous goals for yourself.  Hold your breath, face the obstacle course you've mounted for yourself and despair.  Then take up your pen, stare down the blank page and charge ahead.

You might just surprise yourself with what you can do.