Student of My Author Self :: NaNoWriMo
~~ by Editor Jan
This November, I became a student of myself. Below are seven insights I gained about myself as a writer — and editor — and person in general — having participated in National Novel Writing Month, November 2011.
For those of you who may not know what NaNoWriMo is: Each year this organization encourages writers, new and experienced, to engage in complete “literary abandon” and write freely to achieve 50,000 words in 30 days — the ultimate goal being one of encouraging authorship, with a simultaneous benefit of learning about one’s self as a writer. For more info here is the site: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/dashboard
Following are some realities that rise above the dust of my first NaNoWriMo caper. (Note: I am currently an unpublished writer.)
- SPRINTER: I’m a “burst” writer. I am not comfortable jotting down x # of words each day, or even sitting down each day. Such daily stringency to write only stresses me out, frankly. However, I did find that I can knock out a lot of writing at one sitting if I am so inclined. And WHEN am I so inclined? . . .
- NIGHT-WRITER: I find my most productive and creative time for writing is in the quiet of the late night/early morning hours, when my inspiration and thoughts are floating freely. In fact, not once did I write at any other time or felt compelled or inspired to do so.
- RESEARCH-GAGGED: My worst enemy seems to be the job that I do best, which is to edit and research. It seems that I wish to pen only accurate information, to research fanatically every little piece of information I write, and then to make sure it is grammatically correct. In a nutshell: I have a very hard time writing just for the sake of writing. This is why NaNoWriMo is such an awesome idea. The literary abandon emphasized in NaNoWriMo taught me it’s okay to just write . . . and fix things later. In writing in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, my ideas flowed better and the entire process was just much more fun.
- PLOT-CHALLENGED: I am good with character depth and setting imagery. I don’t seem to have a problem with developing those areas of my novel. I have a harder time sticking with and/or developing hot plotlines. I always have a general idea of A and B, but don’t have a good idea how to get from A to B. Because of that, I found myself getting frustrated and felt like my writing was purposeless. This is something I still must work through and allow myself the OPPORTUNITY to flesh out my plot.
- I CAN DO IT: Though I only achieved about half of the 50K-word goal for November, I realize now where my weaknesses are as a writer, but MORE IMPORTANTLY, my strengths. I have a lot of strengths, more than I expected I would. I can write a fiction novel: something I wasn’t so sure about pre-November 2011. Now I plan to NaNoWriMo myself each month until my book is ready for an editor (not myself!).
- NANOWRIMO–GREAT ORGANIZATION AND PROJECT: I am proud to have learned about, participated in, and donated to this great project and its associated writers and organizations. I plan to participate every year. Thanks to Francesca with Windy City Publishers for bringing the opportunity to my attention.
- STRONGER EDITOR, I AM: As a result of this project, I feel I am also a stronger editor. I know to ask more questions about my authors’ writing styles and why I need to ask them. Working the “other side of the fence,” so to speak, has helped me to be a more generous and compassionate editor, an affordable and superior resource for our authors around the globe.
If you have had a NaNoWriMo experience or wish to share some of your your authorship habits, for better or for worse, please comment. It’s a village!