I signed up for the first time this afternoon to NaNoWriMo. For those who might think that this sounds like the name of an alien planet, it is short for National Novel Writing Month, held every November, with the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month. All the information I am reading emphasizes that the goal of participating in NaNoWriMo is to produce a very rough, unpolished first draft of a novel - no editing allowed - aiming not for quality of work but quantity. You can start polishing and editing later, once the month is over, if you think you have something worth working with.
I thought this might be a good way to get the sequel for Mine to Avenge underway. I have a beginning, some of the middle and a hazy ending, but not much more than that, so it will be good to see if I can come up with some more flesh in terms of plot by participating in a project that might discipline me to plan for a regular writing time each day.
Writing 50,000 words in a month equals about 1667 words a day, or almost two and three quarter pages of a Word document on my laptop.
There are two main things that I think I might benefit from as a writer by taking part in NaNoWriMo, and as I think about them, they almost contradict each other in nature. Firstly, as I have already mentioned, I need to be more disciplined in my writing if I want to improve in the craft. I need to make a regular time to exercise. Exercising improves performance, with writing as with anything else.
However, the second thing I think I will benefit from is the undisciplined nature of the writing process that NaNoWriMo encourages. I want to improve my ability to write in continuous free-flowing mode, without stopping to go back over everything, editing as I go, which I often tend to do, trying to get it right the first time. I certainly think thorough editing is vital later on in the process, but maybe by participating in this venture, I can learn more to enjoy the experience of just writing for writing’s sake.
Have any other readers ever participated in NaNoWriMo? I’d like to hear about your experiences.