So I’m doing NaNoWriMo this month for the 3rd consecutive year. I talked about this a little in my post last month – What I’ve Learned from NaNoWriMo. As we near the middle of November, I thought I’d share something with fellow WriMos who may be feeling a little overwhelmed, or have already made the conscious choice to move at a slower, more conscious pace than the 50k in 30 days goal.
Now let me back up here by saying I know writers who can EASILY churn out 50k in 30 days with time to spare – while producing GOOD first drafts. But that simply isn’t the case for all of us, and I honestly begin to have reservations about encouraging that kind of breakneck pace writing – especially for new and younger writers just starting out.
I think NaNoWriMo is a great exercise for people wanting to get into writing who feel like they need a strong goal and challenge and deadline. But for most people, that draft at the end of the month? It’s going to be a steaming pile of you know what. In looking back over my first 2 NaNo drafts, the first one is utter crap that will never see the light of day. The second? It’s better, but still pretty rough.
Which is why this year, as I was already about 12k into a WIP, I wanted to take my time and make sure I produce a good first draft.
SO! All this to say – Things I love about NaNo:
- Deadlines: Setting a date for completion is CRUCIAL for me. Published writers have to meet deadlines all the time, so this is a practice we need to get used to – plus, it encourages us to know when to stop nitpicking our own work and call it DONE.
- Setting a Daily Word Count Goal: I try to write at least 1k a day even if it’s just a journal entry, just to keep myself actively writing every day. It’s just good practice.
- Turning Off Your Inner Editor: This relates to the NaNo concept of “never use your backspace button – JUST GET WORDS.” Now personally I think that’s a little much – if I write something that doesn’t work, I’m gonna go back and change it. But agonizing over every single word in your first draft is pointless because you’re going to edit it later. Learning just to let go and let the story happen is important.
So what’s the point of all this? Well, tl;dr basically I think NaNo is a great idea as an exercise, but at least for me personally it doesn’t produce good writing. So I am taking on a practice of what I’m calling NaNo² – 50k in 60 days. I realize this is not a revolutionary concept and I’m sure others have done this before, but in searching around online I have found little to no calendars or support widgets to encourage this practice. The thing I love about NaNo is all the little cute calendars with the daily word counts and such. But I’m not good at arting you guys, so here’s what I put together:
Now basically this comes out to about 850 words per day which is NOTHING YOU GUYS. So even if you skip a day, or a few days, it’s so easy to catch back up. Doing this over the holidays? (as those of us doing it in Nov and Dec undoubtedly are) That’s okay! Skip a day for massive amounts of eating and lounging at Christmas, take a break during Hanukkah for long hours of dreidel playing, dance like a dervish during Winter Solstice, or whatever flavor of holiday past time serves you best – but that’s okay because your novel will be waiting when you get back!
Anyway. Hope you guys can use this and enjoy.
If anyone with some artsy graphic design talent wants to make these pretty, that would be much appreciated *hint hint*