My first two manuscripts were NaNoWriMo projects.
One of them will never come off of my hard drive and will stay there forever and ever. This is me putting it in writing for all the world to see.
It’s not that it’s bad (oh, because it is), but that it’s not who I am as a writer anymore. It was like an experiment to see if I could write a novel from start to finish. And I did. And it should only ever be read by Heather. And that’s because she will always love me despite my abilities to come up with gaping plot holes and to use all of the tropes that have ever been used in fiction.
My manuscript that I eventually used to query agents with was also a NaNo project. It’s changed A LOT since I sat down in 2011 and began to write it. It had so many plotlines and so much angst and just all of the things. It took me a while to finish (obviously). I did “win” NaNo that year in that I had over 50,000 words in the month of November. And I loved every second of writing it during that time. I would work steadily on it for months at a time and then would take months off. Mostly when I was stumped by a plot point that I hadn’t thought all the way through.
This year I’m gearing up once again to write a new manuscript for NaNoWriMo. I’ve recruited SEVERAL friends to join in on the torture- I mean fun. Because my full time job as wrangler of children makes it hard to get away except during preschool hours, I’m setting up my own NaNo write-ins at my house. I’ve got a great sitter who is going to help out with our kiddos while we drink coffee and write all of the words. I really enjoy the camaraderie and can-do (or at least will-try) of the participants.
I’m doing more prep for this year than I have in other years as well. I’ve got a new journal (y’all- I love journals. If you want to earn your way into my heart forever give me pens and journals), a new set of colorful pens, and a handy NaNo Prep Calendar. I am hand writing these things into my journal and I keep that journal with me pretty much all the time. I am attempting to write each day for about 30 minutes. In November I’ll up that to an hour or longer on preschool days. I’m once again really enjoying this process and writing about these people.
I like to remind folks that while it is GREAT to shoot for the 50,000 words, sometimes we just know that isn’t doable. So, set your own goal. Maybe it’s 20,000 words. Maybe it’s revisions on an already existing MS. Maybe it’s to write for 40 minutes every day.
Besides great pens and a notebook, another thing that helps me really get into the writing is to take away distractions. I try to write out of my house because I can’t think about the laundry or catching up on TV shows (PS- Quantico is like a drug and parts of it were filmed in my old neighborhood). I also have a little software helper called Anti-Social that keeps me off of social networking sites so I can actually WRITE when I’m on my computer. I like it more than some others because I can still access the internet if I need to do a little research (which is usually a thesaurus).
So, find me on the NaNo site! Be my friend!