Happy NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month) to all you busy writers!
I won’t be doing Nano myself this year, as I’ve got to focus on my screenplay and passing classes my last year of undergrad, but I want to extend a big high five to all you writers who are up to the challenge this November.
I got to about 33,000 words last year, which I felt was good for my first time. I’ve heard some criticisms of Nano as a writing process, but on the whole, I think it’s a wonderful tool for writers. For most people, sure, writing as much as you can in as short a time as possible probably won’t produce the best quality of writing, but Nano isn’t about instantly producing a polished product.
Writing for Nano last year provided me with discipline. It gave me a reason to sit down and write each day, and it motivated me to write further in a story than I ever have before. Most importantly, it got me thinking as a writer: cultivating daily writing habits, leaving editing for another stage, and taking my writing seriously (meaning making time for my writing). It also provided me with a wonderful community of other writers.
Getting into a writing routine has proved invaluable for writing my screenplay. Leaving my room to write, carving out writing time every day (or at least several days per week), setting writing goals (sometimes pages, sometimes, scenes, sometimes plot of character developments), taking time (but not too much) to plot and make outlines, and working with a writing partner (making writing dates, encouraging each other, and holding one another accountable for our writing goals): All these are habits I began learning last Nano, and which help me progress in my writing.
This November, even though I’m not participating in Nano, I plan to use the frenetic atmosphere my (Nano) writer friends will provide, and the suggested daily word count, as inspiration for finishing draft one of That Screenplay I’m Writing.
Best of luck to you NaNoWriMoers and other writers! May your pens never run dry and your keyboards never stick.
*Looking for writing tips? Here’s some advice from the master: Neil Gaiman