Observations From NaNo Land

Keys to NaNoWriMo: a comfy place to work and coffee. Lots of coffee.

Keys to NaNoWriMo: a comfy place to work and coffee. Lots of coffee.

NaNoWriMo 2013: best idea ever, or worst mistake of my life? The jury’s still out.

However, in my quest to have it all this month, I wanted to share a few observations for the land of NaNo-ers.

On the NaNoWriMo Forums, the threads for people in distress are much more active than the ones for people whose noveles are progressing nicely.

What does that say about society? Does it mean that misery loves company, but those who have success are afraid if they talk about it, it will be jinxed?

What does that say about NaNo? How many people do this because they love it and enjoy the process? How many people have realistic expectations about the time and discipline it takes to write 1,667 words every single day for 30 days?

The first year I did NaNoWriMo, I far overestimated the amount of time it would take. I was also a slower writer (and typist), but I expected NaNoWriMo to completely suck up every single moment of free time I had.

It didn’t. Then a high school student, I was surprised to find I still had time to spend with my friends. I just didn’t have as much time to watch television and read for fun. The television wasn’t a great loss.

And at the end of the month, I had a novel. A really, really bad novel, but a novel.

So the next year, I geared up to do it again. That time, I far underestimated the commitment it takes to continue writing when you’re out of plot, when your characters are boring and when there is nothing left for your fingers to possibly consider in a new light.

I didn’t finish that novel. Nor did I finish another one until my last year of college. By then, I had found a new perspective on the project: it wasn’t about writing the novel I had hidden inside me anymore; it was about challenging myself as a writer, about looking at the world in a different way, about getting to know these characters who kept bugging me and bothering me to be written. Whether five, 50,000 or 100,000 words, writing fiction is about taking real emotions, real life experiences and turning them into something that can be digested by someone else.

What wonderful practice for a journalist. Or anyone who wants to learn more about communicating with the world.

On a final note…

My word count so far is 17,208, far ahead of schedule and far more than I expected so far.

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