21 November 2012

Dear NaNoWriMo: The Comeback

My dearest NaNoWriMo,

I'm not caught up yet.  And yet I've come a million miles since last week.  Today, I'm armed with a new technique that, paired with my willingness and creatively-powered mind, has propelled me to get closer and closer to getting caught up with each passing day.  Each day, I'm close the gap a little more.  I am well on my way to finishing you, NaNo, for the first time ever.  You may laugh and say, "Ah, but just wait until next year!"  But if I don't win next year, I'll be okay with that.  If I win one out of every three years, I'll be okay.

So what's this newfound technique?  It came compliments of YA Highway, a fantastic, newly discovered resource for writing inspiration.  I signed up for their daily emails to help get through you, NaNoWriMo, and in their email entitled Resources for Every NaNo Nightmare they gave a NaNo Nightmare and a list of possible solutions.  Under catching up when you're behind, there was a link that said, "From 2K to 10K a Day."  Which made me snort a bit, but also intrigued me.  I clicked on the link.  Thank God I did.

Rachel Aaron, author of the Eli Monpress series, outlines three things that, on their own, can boost your daily word count, and added together can drastically increase your daily word count.
  • Knowledge
  • Time
  • Enthusiasm
She explains each at length in her blog post, but the one that applies the most to me is the effect the Knowledge portion had on my writing.  Ms. Aaron explains that knowing what you're writing before you write it can have a drastic effect on your word output.  

I was frustrated with my story -- I was stalling as much as possible while I tried to figure out what the heck I was going to write next.  In her post, Ms. Aaron described sitting down for five minutes and drafting the scene.  It was, as she described, "head-slappingly obvious."  By simply starting where I was and writing out a truncated version of what came next, I was putting out 1700 in an hour.  The same day I discovered Rachel Aaron's technique, I wrote a whopping 3200 words.  (Whopping for me, anyway.)  For the past three days, gone was the frustration of clopping along, mincing words and ideas, wandering aimlessly and fighting, struggling, begging for those 1660 words so I could call it quits for the day.

I leave off the Enthusiasm part for revisions.  Right now, every idea is going down on paper in whatever ramshackle form it takes.  In revisions, I'll judge each scene by its own merit and gauge how much I enjoy it.  If I don't, it takes a hike.  If I do, it'll be etched in gold. 

Thank you, Rachel Aaron, and the amazing staff at YA Highway for giving me another key to getting my book out of my head.

NaNoWriMo, I'm back.  I hope you're shivering right to your very foundation, because I'm gonna dominate you this year.

Most Affectionately and Determinedly,

Your Biggest Fan

For the uninformed, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to get to 50,000 words in thirty consecutive days -- the "thirty consecutive days" being the month of November. For more info (and to join in the fun!) check out the NaNoWriMo site. You can add me as a friend here.