Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Captain's Log, Day 30 (Lessons on NaNoWriMo from an Amateur, Part II)

Here we are--December 1, 2015--and NaNoWriMo is (finally) over (as of 11:59 last night). Although I finished my 50,000 words two weeks ago, that month was the longest 30 days of my life. I'm not kidding. Even after reaching the 50,000 word mark, I couldn't walk away from the novel (I ended the month at 61,823 words). I felt like I had to write at least a few more words for the book each day to help with our regional word count. Really? Why did I feel so obligated? I have never even met most of the other people in my region. And hadn't I already done my part for the Dayton region? (Yes. The short answer is yes. The long answer involves my OCD tendencies and is, as always, the subject for another post.)

While I had plans to write a wonderful "I'm back" sort of post today, or maybe even share a scene from The Chocolate Garden, I realized that I needed to make sure that everyone out there who might be reading this--that means all five of you--understands exactly what it takes to "win" NaNoWriMo.

It isn't a fancy new computer or new pencils or even a plan (those help, as I discussed in Part I of this series). It's not a quiet, secluded place or a great cup of coffee, although having a space like that and a good beverage also aid in the quest to put down words. The only thing it takes to write a novel in 30 days or less...the most important component of NaNoWriMo...much like any other endeavor you might undertake in your life, is to...

I know, I know. Nike had the market on that phrase, Just do it, years ago. And as you can see from the above video, my kids (who mimic Mr. LeBeouf ALL THE TIME) have finally gotten to me. But as trite and simple as the phrase may be, it's also true.

Sit your ass down in the chair and write. Don't wait until tomorrow to start. Don't assume that the perfect story will begin dancing in your brain. Don't hope that the characters show up and start talking to you. I don't care if you have laundry to fold and food to cook or a job to go to or people to entertain. (If you have small children, or any children for that matter, please attend to them, at least briefly.)  Pull out your writing instruments, sit in front of them, and get to it. (Just do it!) It doesn't even matter if the sentences you form are more similar to, "The red boat sailed on the water," than "A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it."* You can still do all of the things you need to do in a day and manage to squeak out 1667 words on average, per day.

I know you can. Because I did. And if I can, so can you. (For all you whiners out there, let me restate--again--that I have four kids, five pets, one husband, two part-time jobs, a very part-time editing gig, and a house to keep under control. I cook, I sorta clean, and I run a few times a week. I know people who have more responsibilities than I do who still made the 50K mark by yesterday. Just sayin'.)

Now, I know these words aren't the most poignant or profound, but I can tell you that next November 1, when I feel like watching another Buzzfeed video or True Facts installment instead of pulling up a new Word document on my computer, I'm going to come back here and read this post again. Talk about lighting a fire; it might do the trick.

*Thanks to Charles Dickens and A Tale of Two Cities, for this gem.


T said...

I sorta clean!!! Lmfao

Anonymous said...

I love that video!! It gets me laughing every time I watch it. It's ridiculous, but true.