Lessons from this years NaNoWriMo…so far

Day 10 of NaNoWriMo has me ruminating on this year’s NaNo event thus far.

1. Being a Municipal Liaison is more fun than I expected

This is my first year as an ML and I set up more Write-Ins than I think I should have. But I’m meeting lots of new writers from all walks of life. People seem to enjoy my writing sprints/word wars, and my co-ML and outgoing ML tutor are so helpful it’s hard NOT to have fun doing this.

2. Even well-outlined stories do their own thing

I never used to outline my novels before writing them. Then NaNoWriMo 2010 happened to me. Now I map out my story from start to finish. Character bios, chapter expectations, main plot points, themes, the whole shebang!

But, as I’ve learned this year, even those specific and extensive outlines can go down the crappy fast. Not in a bad way. The story and the characters just seem to do their own thing once the fingers hit the keyboard on November 1st. I’ve learned to embrace this. Instead of seeing my outline as something I have to follow, I live breathe, and eat my outline so long, I know where I want my story to go. If I go off track, that’s OK.

Truthfully, I only look back at my outline when I get stuck and try to figure out what it is my characters are trying to tell me. An outline for me is a guide when the “writer’s block” takes effect.

3. Falling behind isn’t the end of the world

I tell new Wrimos that not making your 50k isn’t the end of the world OR something to feel disappointed about. They still wrote more than they would have otherwise. They should be proud of their accomplishments. But I say this as a Wrimo who has ALWAYS won and ALWAYS stayed ahead. Until this year!

This year I had a family emergency at the beginning of the month that set me behind by about 6k. I had 4k words written and was supposed to be at 10k. OUCH! I never thought I’d catch up. You can’t write 6k in one day! Can you? Well, turns out you can!

Being behind is a great motivator…as is being behind other friends that are WAY ahead of you on their word counts. This is exacerbated by the fact that I’m the NaNoWriMo volunteer (ML) for the entire region. I CAN’T fall behind!

4. You go a little loopy by Day 10

NaNoWriMo is like what I’ve heard child birth is like. You always think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world…until the birth! Then it’s the worst thing in the world. Then, over the next 11 months, you forget the pain and insanity, and you think it’s the most beautiful thing in the world again.

I should remember how loopy I get by this time but it always surprises me. I start talking to myself (not normal for me), arguing with other writers’ characters of Facebook (just as weird as it sounds), and ideas and dialog gets so far out there I wonder if I’ll ever be allowed in public again!

5. Library Wi-fi is great for NaNo word count updates…and that’s it

Libraries are great. Free Wi-fi at libraries is real great. But slow speeds and choppy connections means no music streaming and my plan to send my Write-Ins into the stratosphere through Google Hangouts On Air was a total failure. But, that’s OK. I hate seeing myself on camera anyway.

6. Blog posts are a great way to procrastinate

Need I say more? Yes, this was me procrastinating. But to be fair, I’ve made my 1700 for today.

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