Commit yourself to the process, NOT the project. Don’t be afraid to write badly, everyone does. Invest yourself in the lifestyle … NOT in the particular piece of work. ““ Frank Conroy
So here we are, my friends, in week two of our NaNoWriMo undertaking. I find that the above piece of advice from Mr. Conroy is striking a few chords with me at the moment. The whole point of NaNo is the process ““ writing for the sake of writing, be the results “good,” “bad,” or “otherwise.” In previous years surrendering to the process hasn’t been a big problem for me. This year, I find myself tripping over the quality of my output.
I abuse the words “really,” “definitely,” and “afterward,” which I insist is spelled “afterwards.” I’m pretty sure I produced an entire chapter that reads in the following manner: “Nico stood up. Nico walked across the room. Nico smiled. Nico sat down.” I don’t write in a linear fashion, so I have a while bunch of story that exists somewhere in the (possible) middle of the novel but I have no idea where it all began. Sometimes I worry that the dialog all sounds like one person talking to themselves in the mirror.
Clearly, I have not yet given myself over to the process. But I’m getting there. I might cringe when I realize I’ve used the word “really” for the 5th time in as many paragraphs, but I’m not lingering over it. I haven’t wasted any time rewriting. When I can’t think of the right name or the correct phrasing of something I’m trying to say, I just change the color of the font and stick in a place holder. The differently colored text will make it easy to spot during revisions, when I can spend some time groaning over it. The revisions, I constantly remind myself, that don’t begin until December. I’m hoping that the rhythm of writing takes over sometime soon ““ and now that the distractions I mentioned last week have returned to their own homes, it should ““ because that’s how I stop fussing over the “good,” “bad,” and “otherwise.”
As always, I want to hear how everyone else is coming along! What are your word crutches? How’s your word count?
Fun stuff ““ WriteTrack is an online word counting tool that is not exclusively for NaNo, but is hugely helpful during the process. Set your word count goal and the calendar generates how many words you should be producing a day. For us NaNoWriMoers, that’s 1667. The handy bit of this tool is that you enter what you’ve actually written per day and the calendar auto generates a new daily target goal that will get you to your final count on time. I found it incredibly useful last year.
Bonus Tracks: Actual, tangible novels that began life as a NaNoWriMo project.