Nano WoW and Lesson #1 learned

“I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I ain’t gonna lose. We are the champions, my friends, and we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.”~ Queen, We Are the Champions

That is right, bay-beee, I won!!
Brag brag brag. Pat myself on the back.
Dance the happy dance.
Cough (still have the plague)
May the 50K be with you!
Woo-hoo!! I rock!!

I never doubted myself until it was Day 15. Based on NaNoWriMo’s 1667 words per day, I should have been at 25,000 words, but I was at 11,539. I stayed at that word count for five more days. Day 20, yep, that is when panic hit and I did the calculations of what I needed to write per day to catch up. It was a lot of words, but I did it and that feels awesome! I learned two important lessons along the way:

LESSON #1 – It is easy to write 1667 words per day.
Really. It is easier than I thought. When crunch time came and every minute and word counted, I timed myself. I could write about 1200 words in 33 minutes, and I am not a fast typist. That means I could complete this challenge in less than an hour per day.

It is a lot harder to write 5000 words a day to catch up, and not as much fun.

There were 17 days I did not write. If I had written just three paragraphs each day, I would have added approximately 176 words each time. Those 3000-ish words would have been valuable. Amazing what a small investment can yield.

Of my total 51,453 words, I am sure that at least half are crap. Every NaNoWriMo winner I talk to says they feel that way about their work. Also like most of them, my novel is maybe half way through. Quality was not my focus; word count was. In one scene, I described in painful detail my main character trying to eat a foreign creature, much like someone eating a lobster for the first time. He tried biting into the skin, pulling it back, digging beneath the animal’s flesh with fingers and then a stick, just played with his food until he figured it out and ate it. I did not know how to get out of another scene, so I wrote a page and a half of dialogue. When I that got me nowhere, I just stopped and moved on to a different scene. All of those episodes kept me writing, advancing my word count without the need for any logical flow.

I used to journal that way, free writing, but somewhere my inner editor got in my way and I forgot how or why to do that. My main character unexpectedly developed a cough (much like me right now), and that cough will be an undoing in the future. At least, as I have it planned now. I had not thought out all the details of my world, despite having this outline in my head for years upon years. Rather than bother with it now, I made notes in the text along the way. I wrote an extra 1000 words to make up for those comments, proving to me that I did actually write the required number.

This challenge gave me that old fresh approach to writing: just write. Do not worry about what rubbish you spew on the paper or how many misspellings you make. Write.

That and not using contractions; two words for the type of one.

Come back tomorrow for Lesson #2.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jane
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 07:10:38

    Yea you. Good insights I will try to employ myself.

    Reply

  2. Wendi Knape
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 06:52:35

    Diana, you rock!

    It takes a lot of guts not to worry about something that is second nature to you, re: your drive to edit. And I hear from a lot of other authors saying that it is important to not stop writing. Don’t backtrack. Keep the words going. So kudos to you for getting to the end of the NaNoWoW month and reaching your goal.

    Reply

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