Now that NaNoWrimo is close to finish, I am ready to come out of self-imposed hibernation feeling relieved and ecstatic. Just short of 6751 words to win the challenge at the time of writing this post, I am fairly certain that I will be able to knock these down in the next two nights.
Now the question is – are these words any good? This question bothers many new participants and many of them do not return because they can’t see the point of all those late nights, social boycott and agonising hours if by the end of it they don’t even have a book they can publish.
I have three words for them, “they are dreaming!” If they entered the challenge with that thought in mind they better stay away from the challenge next year as well. No one, and let me repeat, no one, writes a novel in the first draft. It is true many seasoned writers are now aligning writing of their first draft with NaNoWrimo, to channel in the energy generated by writers all over the world, but they too do several rewrites before getting to the stage where they can send it to a publisher.
These 50,000 words are exactly what they are supposed to be, and what Anne Lamott author of Bird By Bird calls them, ‘shitty drafts.’ They are ‘shitty’ but they are on paper. A month before they were not even there. And that is a big achievement.
A participant from the last eight years and a winner for three (including this year) I am finding that challenge gets easier with each attempt. For once, I am typing faster than eight years ago. I know more tips and tricks for the words to keep pouring in. From the past four years I worked on the plot and structure prior to starting the challenge, which made writing easy. And this year I used 750 Words to pace myself, to keep the word count and to keep my writing in one place. But the biggest trick I learned this year was: it is harder to write 1667 words in one sitting but it much easier to write 600 words three times a day.
I am exhausted but I am also excited that I will be able to concentrate on the blog now.