The other day I did my first school visit. It was a ton of fun, and most especially fun because I got to talk about NaNoWriMo! I seriously could talk about that all day long.
Since many of you are either A. Enduring the pain and suffering of NaNoWriMo along with me, or B. Think people who try to write a book in a month were dropped on their head as babies....
I thought I'd share a few notes from my school visit. For your enjoyment and/or argument:
1. It’s only a month.
You can use this month to do all the normal stuff you do, and feel the same at the end of the month, and wonder why your life never changes and why you never accomplish anything great. Or you can decide that this month you WILL accomplish something great. BTW, do you know that writing a novel is really something great?
2. Do you even know how many people have thought about or attempted to write a novel?
Human nature – we want to be similar enough to the general population to not be a weirdo, but different enough to know we are special – to have a unique story that people would want to hear. Different but still relate-able. That’s why writing is such a popular idea.
Ask anybody you know over the age of 35. I bet they’ve either thought about writing a book or even tried it. So what percentage of those people do you think have succeeded and what percentage have failed? All it will take is 30 days to surpass that multitude of people.
3. NaNo is a great excuse for not getting your homework done (shhh, don’t tell your teachers this trick).
The next time you have an assignment that you haven’t gotten done, ask your teacher if they’re over 35 (then see point number 2) – have they written a novel? Do they have any idea how much work goes into writing a novel in a month? ‘Nuff said.
4. On that note…It’s a great excuse to stay up past your bedtime. Ask your parents if they’re over 35.
5. There’s a great energy that comes with a bunch of people all trying to reach a similar goal.
Ride on that energy, and the momentum will carry you through.
Know that others have difficult writing days too, and be a support for them when they need it. Then they’ll be a support when you need it.
6. Your writing will be much better than you think it is. Even if you think it’s craptastic.
When you come back to what you wrote in a month or a year, you’ll be surprised how many great things you find in there.
NaNo allows you to explore directions you may not explore if you weren’t letting your brain loose.
Always write forward. Kill perfectionism.
I get up half an hour early in November. What’s half an hour?
Write 1000 words when you’re in that sleepy, weird-ideas-sound-amazing! state of mind.
Think about your story during the day.
Come back and write another 1000 words later.
Two chances for your muse to show up. If not one, maybe the other.
8. Getting stuck
It will happen. It happens to everybody. Write anyway. Who cares if you have to scrap entire sections later? Sometimes you have to take detours to get where you’re going. And often that’s the ONLY way to get there.
Some of my best stuff I’ve written when I’ve been stuck. In Losing Faith, Tessa showed up. She wasn’t in my outline, but my MC was wandering aimlessly, alone for far too long during my “stuck” period. To shake things up, I brought in an unlikely friend.
9. You will be amazed how impressed people are when you tell them “I wrote a book. Yes, a real one.