I, along with over 100,000 other writers, am participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Today is Day 20, and it’s been an adventure!
It’s also been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Like I’ve said before, my last book, Sacred Fire, took me 3 years to write. To finish an 88,000 word novel in three years, I only had to write about 2,500 words a month. To finish NaNo on time, I have to write 1,700 words a day.
There is some pretty intense opinions in the writing world about whether or not this challenge is a good idea. Some people think it’s a waste of time because writing that quickly will only churn out crap. Others say that when they write slowly and when they write quickly, the work comes out the same. Nathan Bransford hosted a fabulous discussion about this on his blog.
The biggest reason I wanted to do this was because of my Mood Hang-Up. I generally think that I can only write at certain times when I’m in certain moods, etc. I wondered, “What if after all this time, I could have written books in a short period, and I just didn’t know it?” It was definitely worth finding out.
Personally, I have noticed a decline in the quality of my work, but everything I’ve written is usable. I don’t think editing will be too difficult. The words are more fluid now than when I painstakingly took my time to write everything perfectly, and even after I edit everything, I’ll finish in a fraction of the time it took to write Sacred Fire. Bonnie Goldberg said it perfectly when she wrote that we expect our writing to come out like perfected sculptures, when really, we only need to make clay. You mold the clay into a perfect shape later.
The verdict: NaNoWriMo is fabulous. Everyone should at least try it – pushing limits and experimenting with your talent is always a good thing.