What I Learned During NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is not quite over but it is coming down to the last days. Earlier this month, I mentioned I was participating. I’ve already got my 50,000 words in on the next novel in the Poltergeist Files, Blackson’s Redemption. I’ve already been given my certificate for this season which was nice. In addition, I discovered some things about myself.

One of the things I discovered was I can write much more than I thought. I didn’t start until the 13th and I finished on the 26th. In that time frame, there were three days where I didn’t write it all. So the total amount of writing time was 10 days. In those 10 days, I finished 50,000+ words. That revelation changes things for me. It puts me on a path of knowing that I can write a rough draft every month. If I average out my books to be 75,000 words, I can write a novel every single month. That is with writing just 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day.

This is a major change for me. I’m always looking for ways to be more productive. I dictate much of what I write (I’m dictating this blog post right now), and that has helped in my productivity tremendously. I still edit with my hands. I write blog posts because it is one of those things I like to do which I’ve talked about before. I don’t expect anything much to come from it except keeping those RIU Citizens abreast of what’s going on behind the scenes at RIU HQ. It’s also the place where the veiled Athenaeum is and I have to keep that up-to-date as well (as a matter of fact, I’m pretty behind on that but I’ll talk about that in another post). I mention that to say that I can write a novel a month and write much more as well like blog posts, VA updates, and the like. It can be done.

What I have found in participating in NaNoWriMo this past month are two things.

First, if you are going to be a writer, you must write. Novel idea, huh? I know there are many who have different ways they write. No two writers will be exactly the same in their methodology. But at the end of the day, the one thing that a writer must do is they must write. I am of the school of thought that if you are a writer, you need to write every day. There is something you can write every single day. It may not be you write your novel every day. But you will write something every day. This is the call of the writer and I’m not to get too much into that but it’s clear you simply have to write every day.

The second thing I discovered which triggers something in my thought process and attitude as a writer is that I can do this. I can write. I’m not talking from a talent or gifted sense. I’m talking about I can write on a regular basis. I can put out content that is decent, good, entertaining, and consistent. It’s that last one that has triggered something within my thought process. The consistency of writing. The discipline of it. It produces dividends.

I don’t write much about writing here at RIU HQ. However, there are times where I will deviate and give my opinions on something or even describe my process. My process for writing over 50,000 words in 10 days was to be consistent and push myself. To write without regard for whether it was going to be great or anything like that. I can make it great in the crafting process. We call it editing. My job is to create an environment where the stream of consciousness of writing is not hindered. I don’t want to be concerned about every word being perfect or things connecting and making sense which I can go back and fix later. Doing so allows me the freedom to just go and write. This past month is a testament to that. I can bang out a novel every month, a least a rough draft.

Let me repeat that. I can write a novel every month. If I were writing short novels at 50,000 words, I could finish that out in two weeks and that’s going slowly.

This for me is highly encouraging and it spurs me on to be more disciplined in my writing. NaNoWriMo is good for that. Everyone’s lives aren’t the same. There are many people who say if they had the time, they could write like that too, but they don’t manage the time they have now to be consistent. Then there are people who it wouldn’t seem like they have the time and yet, they seem to make it work.

I have no sympathy for the whiners. I just don’t.

So NaNoWriMo for me has been an exercise in further discovering who I am as a writer. I knew I could do this last year because I did something similar. It just took two weeks to do it. This year, I shaved four days. That is called progress (and I received the certificate and everything). It crystallized in my mind more this year. There was something about it that made me look at it a little differently. I’m glad I did and I still got a couple more days before it’s over.

For me, it’s not about writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s about me not just saying I’m a writer but being one. That makes all the difference in the world.

See you in the Tapestry!

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