Today I thought I would share my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) experience with you, my dear readers. This last month I joined a group of people worldwide committed privately and openly to writing no less than 50,000 words of a first draft novel in 30 days. There are presently 308,204 people who took on this commitment.
To continue with a few statistics: At the writing of this blog, $1,026,165.00 has been raised through this program to further education endeavors to create better writers. Much of those funds were donations from the committed writers and other organizations that believe that this cause is worthwhile. In my county alone, Riverside County in southern California, writers have contributed 6,619,617 words through the month and I, alone, contributed as of today (I have one more day of writing to complete the month) 70,020 words. These are staggering statistics to me.
Taking it down to my own personal level: This program gave me the much-needed ‘kick in the pants’ to write. I loved writing, but never took it very seriously. I would tell myself there is no time, I’d never succeed, it is a waste of energy where I could be more productive, etc. I created obstacles so that I wouldn’t write. Until NaNoWriMo…
So turning to my husband in late October I explained to him that there was a program that I would like to challenge myself with. (Notice it had to start with me.) Now, my husband, also a scholar and writer, has been waiting for me to write a novel. He tells me that I talk novels! He likes things short and succinct. I’ve always felt that it was a derogatory remark about being too wordy.
I told him that I wouldn’t be able to keep up the housework, garden work and other functions of the household that I would normally do. I also told him that I wouldn’t always be available to help him with his work, which I’ve been doing for the last ten years. So if I took on this commitment, he would have to as well. He agreed to be supportive. He told me that he wanted me to have the satisfaction of the journey.
I am on my last day of my 30-day journey. I have met the challenge. I would like to be able to complete the first draft of the entire story by today. But, my readers, you cannot imagine all that I have learned through the journey.
I found support from a wonderful organization NaNoWriMo. But I also found support through my newly found friends on Facebook and Twitter. Where encouragement is needed, it is found, where a pat on the back is warranted, it is given. Thank you my Facebook & Twitter friends.
I found that writing is the key to being a writer. Now that sounds just plain silly, but it is the truth. Once that pen hits the paper, or in my case, my fingers hit the keyboard, the story begins unraveling. The characters become real, their joy becomes yours, their sorrow gives you pain. I experienced it all. I create the situation and experience the happiness or pain that it created by it. And each time I return to continuing the story, I reopen the book in my mind and begin reading. For truly writing is like reading a good book. The characters shape themselves, situations arise that you never expected to happen. Oh readers, it is a marvelous experience!
So now I can understand why writers fall in love with their characters. I understood it from a reader’s point of view, but not until this month could I understand it from a writer’s point of view. I now understand how a writer once creating these lands of magic becomes addicted to the process.
So where from here? NaNoWriMo has committed to providing tips for editing and revisions of the first draft to those that joined the program. I would like to continue the journey, so shall do what I need to do, to make it a well-written story. I hope to be able to share it with all my readers, finalize it and get it into print. Then I have traveled the road and know where the holes are deep.