Saturday, December 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo week 4 (and wifyr again)

13 things I’ve learned from NaNo
-1600 words a day is a lot of words
-especially when you’ve got your job, your family, the rest of your life to deal with
-some days the words are there, some days they’re not
-1600 is a bunch of words when your story dies and you have no idea how to jump start it back to life
-stories have legs; the legs can walk the story; they can walk away from it.
-this has been a fun way to write. In my normal routine, I get too hung up on getting chapter 1 right before moving on to 2. NaNo helped me advance the story quickly (when the story was there). Writing this way was freeing. You can ignore story details and quickly figure out what happens next.
-jotting notes to self adds to word count
-butt-in-chair rule must be adhered to
-not having a clue as to what your story is going to do next can make butt-in-chair rule easy to ignore
-email & Internet sites is not a legitimate butt-in-chair activity
-but it can add to your word count. (I counted my research notes.)
-and sometimes, any diversion is good enough

Win, loss, or draw? I definitely didn’t win. At 17000 words, I wasn’t even close. As the month ended, my story is bogged down and in need of direction. It’s been there before, several times in the last 30 days, actually. It seems as though every time I got on a roll, I would run out of story. It would languish a few days and come back to life, then repeat, repeat, repeat. NaNo ended at a time my story was in one of those low points on the cycle. As much as I wanted to ring in the new month furiously typing away and energized for a few more weeks, it didn’t happen that way.

But I didn’t lose. I have a solid start on a project that has potential. It has history. Like the stock market, its been up its been down. It should come back. Without the daily motivation to work on it, I now get to move away from it and let it simmer. I can get back to another project, one I was tiring of before NaNo and ready to take a break from.

So, by NaNoWriMo standards I didn’t win. But I gained something

-Oh, and #13, I think I’ll do it again next year.

Something I didn’t learn from NaNo but realized the first time I went to one, the WIFYR conference is a good way to polish off your new creation. If you’ve got only a start or were one of those people who cranked out 50,000 words, you need to think about attending next June. The afternoon sessions are invaluable, but joining a week-long morning workshop with an experienced author and several other similar aspiring writers, WIFYR can take your story to the next level. Check it our at

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