Well, it's November 12th, and if I keep up with my goal of writing 2K words every day, I should be hitting the halfway point of my NaNoWriMo novel...tomorrow.
NaNoWriMo approached faster than ever this year (and caught me totally off guard!), but this is my second year participating and I drastically improved my methods this year. So, since I'm about to hit halfway and my 2K words are done for today (woohoo, 24K!), I figured why the heck not share some valuable life lessons taught to me through the greatest (and most chaotic) literary program in the world?
So, here goes nothing. Some important life lessons taught to be through NaNoWriMo and the writing community:
Ambition is key. More than once, friends and fellow Wrimos have come up to me and asked me how the heck I manage to stay on track the entire month without falling behind once - and even finding myself pulling ahead. It's simple. I'm just like everyone else out there - I'll wake up on my Saturday morning and want to curl back under the blankets and sleep for the rest of my natural life. And then I realize I have 2,000 words to write and oh dear I should probably get on that but I'm so tired and I really don't want to.
The answer to that is simple...do it! I force myself out of my warm blankets and towards my laptop. I may be grumpy for the first minute or two (and it may reflect by the way I'll make my main character say/do something like punch her sister), but after a couple of minutes I realize that it's a good thing, and hey, would you look at that - it's only 11am and I've hit my word count for the day! Go productivity!
You can always find friends in your fellow Wrimos. Seriously, you guys rock. You are my rock. When I'm exhausted from a long day of school and homework and studying and extracirriculars and all I want to do is go to bed, I just check out the NaNoWriMo site. Seeing everyone progressing and motivating everyone else is seriously the epitome of freaking awesome. Not to mention Double-Up day last weekend, guys. We nailed it and THEN SOME. We are a seriously freaking awesome group of people. Being a part of the writing world, especially the NaNoWriMo writing world, is something I'm truly grateful for. It helps me get by as a writer and as a person.
We are seriously a freaking awesome group of people.
Stress is all in your head. Writing a 50K word novel in 30 short days isn't just insane, it's stressful. Chances are, we're all going to hit that point where we want to tear out our hear and scream to the heavens and throw our manuscripts down the garbage disposal (but that wouldn't be very nice now, would it?). It happens. We're humans. We're running on exhaustion and coffee and the soft sound of the keyboard clicking all through the night. Coffee can only take us so far - we have a breaking point. But this breaking point is normal, and I've learned that stress really is all in my head. If I ignore it, if I tell myself just stop thinking about it and write another hundred words, my good friend Stress will shut up. And go away. It's a miracle.
Math is important. 50K is a large number. Quite a large number. A large number of words to squeeze into 30 small days. You don't have to be a mathematician to know that we have to bring out the big guns and work our magic, here. However, you do need math skills to make sure you hit the right amount of words each day, and to ensure that you will hit that glorious 50,000 words come November 30th.
There's always another way to say something. We're all guilty of trying to draw out scenes in our NaNoWriMo stories for as long as socially acceptable solely so we can reach our word count for the day. So, as a Wrimo, I've learned about several hundred different ways to describe the color blue. Or someone's hair. Or their laugh. When you're looking for the optimal amount of words, why call something green when you can call it the color of nature's dewy carpet on a crisp spring morning? Not even for word count reasons - for beauty reasons. I would rather a boy tell me that my eyes are the color of nature's dewy carpet on a crisp spring morning instead of him telling me that my eyes are green.
The world would be a dull, dull place without books. Books are proof that humans can do magic. It says so at the very bottom of this blog (which means it has to be true, of course). Hearing everyone bounce around plot ideas, seeing characters and stories and information being passed around in the forums - it's mind-boggling to see what the imaginations of so many people are capable of coming up with. It makes you wonder what the world would be like without books. And it makes you realize that it would be a very, very dismal place.
So if you were needing a little bit of a pick-me-up as some of us hit our halfway marks this week, there you go! Go out there. Write your book. Write with passion and ambition and with literary abandon. Do it. You can do it. Because you're a Wrimo, you're part of NaNoWriMo, and we are a freaking awesome group of people.
There's your unofficial pep talk, no coffee cup icon in your NaNo mail inbox required, brought to you by a Wrimo herself. Now, go out there and write!