IWSG: A Celebration of Writing

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosted this month by Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson.

IWSG is an opportunity for writers to share their writing-related insecurities and offer advice and encouragement to one another. Click here to find out more about this totally awesome group.

* * *

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo, but in the earliest days of my writing adventures, I did something a little similar. I called it Writing Week. Here’s how it worked.

I’d take three vacation days: a Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I would devote those three days, plus the weekends before and after, to writing. My schedule would look something like this:

Nv02 Writing Week Schedule

Over the course of those nine days, I’d work on two separate projects, so if I got stuck on one I could switch to the other. By the end, I’d have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 words to my credit.

Obviously NaNoWriMo is different. It’s stretched over the course of a full month, and presumably you still have to do your day job for most of that period. But I think some of the lessons I learned from Writing Week still apply.

  • First and foremost, this is not a chore. It’s a celebration. A celebration of writing! If you’re relaxed and having fun, your word count quota will take care of itself.
  • Schedule time away from writing. Those two days I went to work for The Man during Writing Week gave my brain a much needed rest.
  • Spoil yourself. Don’t cook (it’s time better spent writing!). Order your favorite takeout instead. Remember, this is a celebration, and what’s a celebration without amazing food?
  • Re-read your favorite books. Re-watch your favorite movies. Your favorite stories are probably the reason you started writing. Exposing yourself to them again will remind you why you wanted to do this and help keep you from getting discouraged.

I worry sometimes when I hear people talk about NaNoWriMo. They seem to get so blinkered by word counts that they forget to have fun and enjoy the adventure of writing.

Just my outsider’s perception, of course.

So how do you feel about NaNoWriMo? Have you done it? Does it seem to you like a celebration of writing, or does it turn writing into a chore?

20 Responses to IWSG: A Celebration of Writing

  1. Deb Hawkins says:

    This is very true, and that’s a reason I didn’t even think about doing it this year. Maybe next year, and I’ll remember to have fun with it.

    Like

  2. I’ve never even thought of NaNo being a celebration of writing, but you’re so right! I’ve participated in it a couple of times, but only succeeded once. I’m taking a back seat this year, although I am hoping that reading all about NaNo with inspire me to get going with my current WIP! Great advice :), good luck with your writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      Thanks. Even though I’ve never done NaNo, it is kind of fun hearing so many people get excited about their writing all at once. It’s also a bummer when so many people start complaining about their writing all at once.

      Like

  3. I did NaNoWriMo in 2012. I recommend it for anyone who has never written a novel length story. It proves to yourself that you can do it. (I do think it’s crucial that it be a reasonably coherent story, even if not a good one.) I wrote at least 2000 words / day, and finished about a week early, although I was feeling pretty exhausted by then.

    That said, while the one person I’ve shown my practice novel to said fairly good things about it, I consider it pretty stillborn. (It has structural issues not fixable with light editing and unwanted premises I introduced in desperation to keep the writing going.) It was a practice effort which might, at best, serve as brainstorming for future endeavors.

    One thing I learned doing it is that I’m not a discovery writer. Oh, I can do discovery writing, but I’m not happy with the result. I need to do outlining. Once I know the story, writing productivity isn’t that big issue for me. It’s getting that story hammered out that is the obstacle.

    It’s almost like I need a NaNoOutMo (National Novel Outlining Month) where I’m forced to outline, write character synopses, etc, for a month. Not sure how you’d measure productivity on that though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James Pailly says:

      I feel like an outlining month is doable. Maybe it could be a commitment to spend an hour a day outlining, or something like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • After I posted my comment, I realized what I’d just said and thought, “Well, why not?” I might set myself a quota of 500 words a day of outlining, character synopsis, or world building. (500 feels right since the information density is far higher, although it might need to be adjusted.) Of course, just as in NaNoWriMo, quality isn’t guaranteed, but at least it would be productivity, and at least with outlining it’s okay to have several stillborn versions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • James Pailly says:

        500 sounds like a good goal. And I’d think chasing the wrong idea in the outlining phase would be far preferable to chasing it while writing the actual novel.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. notarize123 says:

    I’ll be signing up for NaNo later this week. Good luck with it!

    Stephen Tremp
    November IWSG Co-host
    http://www.stephentremp.com

    Liked by 1 person

  5. emaginette says:

    Depending on the word count it only takes a couple of hours a day. Some of us go overboard at first, that’s me, because life has an annoyingly way of interfering and I’m determined to win. 🙂

    Anna from Elements of Writing

    Liked by 1 person

  6. spunkonastick says:

    Ordering pizza sounds good. I used to be able to crank out thousands of words a day. Life got more chaotic.

    And yes, to answer your question, the shark is the love interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. dolorah says:

    I have not participated and don’t see it in my future. I’m not dedicated enough. But I cheer for those brave enough to take it on. it works out for some.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lidy says:

    I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2013. It was part exciting and part chore because I worried about the word count. Then I got stuck and waffled in the middle. This is my second year of NaNoWriMo and this time, instead of writing linear like last time, I’m starting from the middle. And not caring about making the daily word count. So right now, I’m celebrating and enjoying the ride my characters are taking me on.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. rbyrnes says:

    I like the idea of scheduling time away for writing. Like a brain vacation from distractions. Great idea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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