15,916, Errors of Choice. I’m having a stress-free Nanowrimo for the first time in my decade of doing NaNo. Perhaps it’s because I’m better prepared than in previous years. In his essential Nanowrimo book, No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty advises to only take a week in October, seven days, to prepare for writing your novel and I can see the sense in this. You don’t want to get hog-tied by your idea and stressed out before November 1. On the big day, you don’t want to sit in front of your computer, gazing into the white wastes of the screen or sit staring blankly at the yellow desert of a legal pad with the lines resembling the fine wind imprints of the Sahara. You want to write, right?
I took most of the month of October, three weeks exactly, to get ready and I think it’s because I had much material for the story in my head. So much so that I was able to create in Scrivener a good set of scene idea cards. I put them in rough order, not caring if they stayed in order once I started writing. I’m not a linear writer, but I had enough connecting ideas and enough potential connections to give myself a decent map into the story with enough plot bunny material to back it up. In short, I had something to say.
Now I’ve had something to say before with other stories, and I’ve spent past Novembers wrestling with the words, wrestling with the angels of inspiration, and beating at my brain to get those 50,000 words by November 30, all the while promising myself that I wasn’t going to do it again next year. I lie to myself all the time.
It’s Day 9 and I’m at 15,916 words, a little ahead instead of a lot behind. I love not having to play catch-up. In the past it’s been different. My brain is the Titanic and I’m always up against that damn iceberg.
I might be doing my happy dance in terms of progress too soon, but it sure feels nice to know what the hell I’m writing (even if all I have is a vague idea of the scene), and I don’t care if it makes sense right now. Are the words coming out in a silky flow in perfectly constructed sentences? Hell no—but they’re showing up on the page, my characters are talking, and that’s all I ask.
So y’all out there facing the 1,667 every day—turn off the Internal Editor and shut down that other nasty voice attacking your talent, take a deep breath, gather your zen, and accept the words that come. Go ahead, write badly, write wildly, babble all over the page, write! Writers write, and then writers rewrite because Hemingway wasn’t wrong.