I’m nearing the end of week two of NaNoWriMo, and this year I’ve spent almost as much time analyzing my process as I have pouring words out onto the screen.
There are several writers’ views of NaNoWriMo: some love the idea of a first draft in 30 days, some support it but wouldn’t try it, and some avoid it like a Kindle.
Last year, I wrote 50,000 words, the story flowed like one big stream of conciousness dump: start, type like crazy to the last day (of NaNoWriMo and the story), upload said draft, punch the enter key, BOOM – 50,000. Woo! And, all the details happened in one year’s time. I had a beginning, middle, and end. At the time, that was all that mattered. This year, after week two, I feel myself beginning to balance between the form and function of the NaNoWriMo sprint.
I still appreciate, and need, that 30 day time limit. If I sat down to write a first draft in three months or six months or even a year, I would flounder after a few weeks and fold. But, while I’m still writing to finish a first draft in a very short period of time, I’m allowing myself to let go of chronological order. I am writing scene to scene, which sometimes means I go back to the beginning or I jump to the end of the story. I’m sure other NaNo-ers do this already, but for me this option is new.
I read somewhere this morning that in life, whatever seems important is rarely urgent, and what seems urgent is rarely important. Today, this first draft seems important. I have a story that, in my mind anyway, wants to come to life on the page. But, finishing the first draft at break-neck speed is no longer urgent.
I want to finish NaNoWriMo, don’t get me wrong. I’m keeping a close eye on my writing buddies, like Dot — who is an inspiration because she puts her writing time first even with her hectic schedule. She’ll hit 50,000 no doubt. And, I know come November 30th if my word count meter doesn’t purple-out, I’ll hang my head. But, not for long. My first draft thus far is wordy in several parts; at least one quarter of it will likely fall into the abyss of ideas or word combinations that should never be recalled. Most of it, however, merits a considerate rewrite, and that’s as exciting as making it to the 50,000 mark.