Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Joy of NaNoWriMo

Today I am taking a break from discussing reading fiction to turn my attention to writing it. For the past five years November has meant a month or four solid weeks of writing every single day. As a participant in NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, I have struggled along with everyone else participating to start and finish writing a 50-thousand word book. That's an average of 1667 words a day and that's no easy task. At times I have found myself only able to get 300 words done and then had to write 2000 words the next day.

So why put myself through this exercise? Part of it is just to know I can still get a story written quickly.  Part of the reason is also to help me establish a routine of good daily writing habits. And part of it is simply the joy of letting myself go and having an excuse for losing myself in the story. With my focus on my story I find myself seeing everything around me in terms of the story I am writing and that not only helps to keep me going, but it also helps me establish some new patterns or get back to old techniques that worked to keep me writing in the past.

Facing a blank screen or empty pages every morning can be daunting, but NaNoWriMo makes me focus. New scenes must be written every day and that means I have to get off the internet or not take the time to research something at the moment.  I have to sit down at the keyboard and work on dialogue or describing a setting. It means taking steps to develop my characters either in description or ringing them out in the storyline. (which is what I much prefer doing) 

The other thing I love about this month is that I know many of my writing friends are attempting the same thing. We are all in this together and there are writing sprints I can take part in or writing rooms I can visit online and use as further encouragement to keep me going.

But I think the main thing I enjoy as a writer is the sheer joy of watching the story unfold in my head and then on the written page. I can't wait until to reunite with my characters and visit whatever special setting I am using (this year I am using the Northwest since I just visited there) 

So that is where I am heading now -- to a deserted beach on the western Washington coast where I have left my heroine walking along while she is being watched by a dark presence.  What will happen? Well, that's the fun of writing the story. Her fate is in my hands. And I only have a week and a half left to figure it all out.

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