Monday, October 14, 2013

Why NaNoWriMo Works

I remember back in high school my maths teacher always said, "Break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks."

For some reason that's always stuck with me, and I've found it's true for writing. Or any big task. Undertaking small portions of it over time help you not get swamped by the magnitude. Because, let's face it, a hundred thousand word book, or seventy-five, or fifty-six is big enough without it all having to make sense, flow, have heart, change people's lives and be compelling.

So let's throw all the fear and doubt out the window and just go for it--which is why I love NaNo. If you sign up (which I did last year with My Book Therapy) on their official website there's such a sense of community you get encouragement and a whole squad of cheerleaders for a month of intensive writing.

Here's my top three reasons why it works:

1. 1667 words per day is manageable, even if you have a life. I don't, but you might.

2. It's only 30 days, which is how long it takes to make an activity into a habit. Presto-changeo, you're a regular writer!

3. At the end, you get to say, "I did it!" Last year my sister and her husband visited from England for a week in the middle of November. A whole week where I wrote ZERO, which means the last week of the month I doubled up every day so I could make it to, THE END. It's a great feeling.

Try it. The worst that can happen is you only get to thirty thousand words in November, or twenty, or fifteen. But hey, that's more than you have now.
And even though my editor hated like, the WHOLE of act two and I had to rewrite 30k of a 56k word novel, I don't regret it. Switching off your inner editor and worst book reviewer ever who hates your guts while you pound out a first draft...worth it.

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