It’s All About Quantity

thM9TM00E3A head start is important during the month of November when it comes to National Novel Writing Month. Getting as much written in the first few days is vital. For most people, there will come a time during the challenge where you will slow down. You’ll hit a dead zone where nothing comes to you. It will feel like you have forgotten how to write or think. You’ll feel like your brains have turned into mush and you might as well be a freaking zombie for all the creative thoughts happening in your head.

Or maybe not. Not everybody who participates in NaNoWriMo, or any writing project for that matter, experiences such hardships. Lucky you. (I hate you!-Just teasing. Or am I?)

For the rest of us, that strong start is all about quantity. Yeah, it’s always good to have quality in your work in progress but it’s terribly important that you remember to get the words down. You can work with crap. You can’t do anything with no crap. Does that make sense? Put your inner editor to the side. Don’t worry about getting everything absolutely perfect. The whole point of this challenge is to let your creative side work without all the pit stops that come with the editing process. You AREN”T SUPPOSED TO EDIT RIGHT NOW. The only job you have is to craft that super-awesome-spectacular FIRST DRAFT from start to finish.

Whether you are doing the NaNoWriMo challenge or writing on your own timetable, that is the most important thing. Get it out of your head and onto the paper/screen. Okay? You are totally allowed to suck right now. Nobody should be reading your work in progress right now anyway. DON”T LET ANYONE READ YOUR WIP WHILE YOU ARE WRITING IT. You hear me? DON”T. And I am totally yelling that at you.

Letting people into the secret world of first draft writing before it’s completed allows bad things into your life. The second someone you care about reads anything and makes one single remark can and will prop doubt into your head and from there you will be totally screwed. I’m only warning you of this once. Of course, you’ll go and ignore my warning, do the exact opposite and then BAM…there’s the lesson. You learned it.

Anyway, getting back to the true topic: Head starts. Get as many words as you can right now. It will most likely be your saving grace when your boss tells you to pick up double shifts, when your family tells you they are coming three days early for the holidays, or whatever else life brings to your plate. We are writers, yes, but we are people first. And with that role comes busyness. All the hustle and bustle of life, Murphy’s Law, and all that good stuff. (good?)

So, that’s all I have to say today. It’s day two of the challenge and I’m blown away by how awesome the creativity is flowing through me. I truly should apply myself like this more often. I hope you are having a great first couple days. If you aren’t, that’s completely okay. Stick with it. Write wordmonkeys. Write on!

Cheers, Michala

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5 thoughts on “It’s All About Quantity

  1. I’m a very fast typer, and can write a lot quickly when I’m inspired and motivated. Even as prolifically as I can write, I’d never rush myself to the finish line just to get some kind of bragging points. I can’t understand the people who force themselves to win on the first day, and write hundreds of thousands of words over the entire month. How do they do anything else but write?

    • Hi Carrie-Anne. Thanks for visiting my blog. 🙂 Always a pleasure to see remarks.
      NaNoWriMo is definitely not for everybody. In fact, many of my closest friends who are writers choose not to participate at all. Still, others use it as a time during the year where they can get with other writers and fuel their passion to write. Some just use the time to get a story going. My best friend began a story last November but his goal wasn’t to finish it within the 30 days. It was just to utilize all the hype and energy of other writers to propel him further in his work in progress.
      I personally don’t have a whole lot of time to write so I plan late October for a ‘getting ahead’ time so I can take the first few days of November to write as much as I can on a new story. I don’t always get very far, like last year, when I was barely able to write 1700 words a day. It really depends on the story I am writing and how cooperative the characters and plot is. This year, it’s smooth sailing (so far). Yet I know I will hit some rocky days and I’ll have that jump start from the beginning to help keep things in order.

      My biggest thing is writing everyday. I don’t. It’s such a struggle for me. But NaNoWriMo is like a kick in the booty to help me get back to at least trying my best to do that. Some days I can only get a hundred words written. Other days I can get 4 or 5 thousand. It just depends.

      Best of luck with your writing. We have to stick together and support each other!!! 🙂
      Cheers,
      Michala

  2. Go you! How’d the rest of the month go if you were over 20k six days in? I personally opted out of NaNo this year, but that’s because November WriMos don’t work for me. Summer all the way baby. Or even November 🙂

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