When we were first thinking of moving to Alaska I wrote a list of things I would do with my time here because I would be essentially unemployed, save some substitute teaching. It was a question that was brought up by the school district in several of Nathan’s interviews, and something I addressed myself in one of my first blog posts. On that list I included “Write something… and finish it”
Ideally, I would love that something to be impactful, and great, and hey while I’m dreaming, I would love to pen a bestseller! But the most important thing is that I will write something… and finish it. As a teen I would write stories all the time. Scattered in notebooks, written in gel pen, bleeding with teenage angst and emotion, and all ultimately incomplete.
This is where NaNoWriMo comes into play. If you haven’t heard of it, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is November. The premise of the website is to bring together writers from all over the world to write 50,000 words towards a novel in the 30 days of November. The stress on the word count is important: it pushes you to put your editing mind aside, and just write. Write whatever you are thinking. Write without a critical mind. Write without holding yourself back. Editing can come later, after you have a substantial first draft to work with.
This brings to mind the phrase my English Major Husband loves: Write Hot, Edit Cold. When you are really letting your creative juices flow, and feel like you are really inside the story, it is important to just keep going. Leave the critical eye for editing until a later time, after your passion has flowed onto the page. That is probably what I really needed as a teenager. I was so good at ‘writing hot’, but I never got around to the editing cold part.
NaNoWriMo forces you to have an accountability as well. You make a commitment, and the more you talk about it, the more weight being successful holds. For those in more densely populated areas they have meet ups in person where people can support each other and write to reach their goals. Because I am so far removed from civilization and literally have to take a plane to get anywhere, my meet ups and socialization must all happen electronically. So I am committing to telling everyone that I am setting this goal for myself, so that I will be accountable. I also plan on weekly ‘check in’ blog posts to let you all know how it is going!
Today NaNo’s Facebook page challenged all the writers to write a 150 word “Writer’s Manifesto”. Something that you can look at during the month of November when you aren’t feeling inspired, and remember why you wanted to do this challenge in the first place. Something to galvanize your spirit. I think this is a great idea, and will publish mine here. Having this audience makes me accountable, and less likely to fail.
My Writer’s Manifesto
I will complete what I set out to do, without compromise. I will write characters that embody the compassion I wish to share with the world, and the complexities that are alive in all of us. I will write women who are real, who may not always be strong, but are always true. I will write, even when I am scared, doubtful, and want to throw in the towel. Slaying my inner vampires I will overcome the barriers I create myself, and commit to creating openly and fearlessly. I will strive to write something that matters, something that inspires, something that makes a difference.
If you have ever participated in NaNoWriMo I would love to hear about your experiences! Any Advice, successes, stumbling blocks? Is it your first year too and you would like a writing buddy to help keep you accountable and on track? Let me hear about it in the comments below, and we can all work through this together!