I’m a day behind in NaNoWriMo world. Yesterday yielded zero words. I left home before 7AM for work and returned from a long day of teaching, fall festivaling, and celebrating a family birthday happy but exhausted. This is exactly why I chose to set my goal at half. 25,000 words in a month is more realistic than 50,000. Today I brought my total to 2,265.
In the process, I was reminded of a few lessons I learned last time, lessons I have not needed for awhile:
1. Just let the damn words flow. This morning I read and reread and reread again. I was writing in perfectionist mode, the exact mode I taught my students to avoid by locking up their inner editors. It’s easy to never write anything when you write this way. Finally I remembered the beauty of NaNoWriMo– just write without looking back. Sure enough, the last six hundred words I spit out came much more easily. In the past, I’ve criticized the NaNoWriMo method for producing work that needs to be heavily edited, but I overlooked something important in this criticism– better to have written something to edit than nothing at all.
2. The internet is my friend. I’ve finally reached a good spot of being able to ignore all other Internet impulses while writing. This is the polar opposite from me over the summer. Maybe it’s because I know my time is limited. Instead of using the Internet to waste time, I’ve been putting it to work for this new book. Needed to learn about gray whales, Naga (a mythical, serpentine mermaid), and sea kayaking today. I feel so spoiled to have so much information at my fingertips– I can’t imagine what it was like for writers before the Internet.
3. Music. I started my day in silence, but this afternoon I turned on Pandora to Iron & Wine, my favorite writing station. I always forget my words flow more easily with some background music. I also sometimes get this creepy feeling Pandora is reading my mind. The song below came on as I was thinking about nicknaming my protagonist’s old truck Jesus. Not sure if that’s me being inspired by Pandora or Pandora being inspired by me…
4. Connections matter. Knowing that many of my blog friends out there are also writing this month is already helping to keep me motivated. It’s kind of like having a friend willing to go to the gym with you… And, it’s exciting to read other people’s NaNoWriMo posts and see those word counts climbing! Hurray for collective brain power. If you include your NaNoWriMo name in a comment below, I’ll be sure to add you as a writing buddy. I’m TodayBestLife if you want to find me, (old blog identity).