I was ahead of my goal by plenty for the first 20 days of this month, but I have to say, that last 10 days were a real struggle. Granted, the book STILL isn’t finished, but I’ve made it through a healthy 175 pages worth. That’s more than plenty to run with.
I learned a great many things during this month – 1) When Professional Writers say you should write something every day, they’re not just blowing hot air. I never thought it would make as great an impact on a story as it does. I guess I should listen to the pros…I mean, they are the pros, after all. Writing every day really does wonders for productivity, as well. No big surprise there… But just sitting down and working on one project every single day allowed my subconscious to do things with my story that I didn’t expect.
2) Outlines are not All-Powerful. I used to hate outlining because I thought it took away from the creative process somehow. If it was all line out waiting for you to hop from one point to the next, there was no room for spontaneity. But then I was forced to write with an outline — for a grade. I kicked and screamed the entire way, trying to plan ahead of where my creative juices were currently working. But in the end, I somehow left with this strange reverence for the power of outlining.
So naturally, I outlined this book to the T. Well, that backfired, so-to-speak. I got to the bottom of the first page of my outline and my story just nabbed the reins and veered away from my path. When I finally had control again, I was already to far from my original path to go back – so I had to forge ahead with no notion of where I was going or where I would end up.
But, as I look back on it now (even though I’m still not totally finished), I realize that this is what made me love writing in the first place. This was the reason I kicked and screamed, why I was so dead-set against outlining in those early days. I think I have a healthy new outlook on outlines now. They’re there to reassure you during the good times but they’re there to be totally ignored when you hit the rough spots. That may sound backwards…but I think when you get stuck in a novel, when things stop working for you, that’s when you have to put the outline away and depend on your natural story-telling ability to save the novel.
I learned that the hard way.
So people, here I stand now… 50,000 words in just 30 days. 30 or 40 thousand more and I’ll have a new book to revise, rewrite, and fine-tune. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Maybe if I hurry, I could make February– wait, no… only 28 days — March! I could make March my next novel writing month!
C’mon, all you NaNoWriMo Winners! Let’s Celebrate!!