At times, i was chock-full of fear, especially when that cursor was blinking on the first blank page on day. At times (lots of times in fact i doubted whether I had the stuff — the mind, the talent, the skills, the experience, the energy — to write a novel, never mind within a nearly insane timetable. Most authors, even the most accomplished and skilled, are filled with fear and doubt when they take on the extraordinary undertaking of novel writing. When John Steinbeck was writing. The Grapes of Wrath, he faithfully kept a diary of his progress. In that diary, steinbeck questions his ability to even write and wonders whether he was foolish to even become a writer.
how to, write
You will get tired. Your mind will be weary on some days — and oddly, so will your body. A zombie probably felt sounder in mind and more fit in body than I when I finally wrote the ending. But you have to push through the pain and avoid making excuses (Im hungry. I cant get into. I didnt get enough sleep). We can come up with 1,000 terrible excuses because we have a tendency to want to avoid the pain of doing work. But we have to transcend our nature if we want to do monumental things — climb a mountain, run a marathon, write a novel in eight weeks. You will be frightened. You will doubt whether you are up to the task.
Plus, i achieved one of my major life goals — finishing supermarket my first complete novel. Here are eight principles I learned during that process that I want to share with you:. Ill be honest: I broke this rule several times because i couldnt resist the urge to re-read a few segments to make sure i was writing something that at least made sense. But I never edited a single word or sentence. You dont want to look back because youll get mired in the swamp of editing and you may find a few imperfect lines that will surely hurt your confidence. Keep moving: do the edits and analysis after you are finished. Youll have plenty of time for that. Plus, you dont have time during this phase of the process (a very rough, but finished, draft is what we are trying to achieve here; and that's a major achievement). Run the race then evaluate how well you did.
And you have to control how much you likely will doubt the your ability to do the writing and your ability to finish the job. But you can write a novel in eight weeks (or a little bit longer if you need more time). I managed to barely cross the finish line — 88,779 words in eight weeks. That guaranteed i am certain. And yes, i nearly lost my mind (to a reasonable degree). I was afflicted with a few stomach aches and a maelstrom of both positive and negative nervous energy. But the process from beginning to end was one of the most gratifying, exhilarating, and challenges experiences I have ever subjected myself.
One in a series of columns focusing on creative writing. While that is the focus, these columns also provide guidance and inspiration for professional / promotional writing projects. It is daunting, surely. You may go mad during the process. But turning the masterpiece that exists only in your mind into a piece of polished prose that you can share with the world will be worth it — trust me i just did. It wont be easy. Youll have to ignore the human propensity for lazy excuses: I wrote a lot the past few days so i deserve a break or my friends want me to hang out.
Report on a 30 day challenge: Write a, novel
She ultimately hit 57,000 words by the end of the month. Saying no is okay. When you have a big goal, you may need to turn down opportunities or invitations, or let go of a few responsibilities. Sometimes people feel guilty about this, but people who care about you will likely support you, especially if theres an end in sight. Says faulkner, we always tell people to tell your friends and family youre going to do this ahead of time.
You set expectations: Im pursuing one of my creative dreams in november, and I really need your help. Even good habits can be bent for a while. Bowden says i usually get nine hours of sleep a night so a whole month of late nights was hard. But I found that because i was losing sleep over something that I loved and wanted to be doing, it didnt seem to hit me as thesis hard physically as it would if I were doing something I really didnt want to, like studying for. It wasnt sustainable long term, but 30 days felt like something I could handle. And in the end, if you have a novel or completed another big goal, it will all be worthwhile.
Failing Fast Is Efficient. Nothing comes of most nanowrimo novels, but thats not a bad thing. I view it as a great time to experiment with creativity, says faulkner. I have one burning novel idea each year. This is a really efficient way to test that idea. In 50,000 words, you can tell if a novel is worth pursuing to completion.
If it isnt, its only a month out of my life, he says. Thats better than spending five years tinkering with something youll never be happy with. Small Progress Is Motivational. Jennifer Bowden did nanowrimo in 2013. She and her husband both worked full-time, and he was in graduate school, so our evening hours and weekends felt off-limits so we could spend some time together with our kids, she says. I ended up doing most of my writing in bed after the kids went to sleep. I bought a cheap plastic lap desk at Michaels and left my laptop on the bedside table, and i absolutely refused to go to sleep until Id written 500 words. This was a ridiculously small goal for each night but I found that this was my own personal hump. If I could get to 500 I could usually get to at least 1,500, and there were quite a few nights that I felt really inspired and just kept writing until my eyes blurred.
Visual, novel, day 1: Why?
Inner Critics Waste hours. Divya breed made it to 37,000 words by the end of november, which was a longer golf work of fiction than shed book ever created before. Alas, at 13,000 words short of the nanowrimo requirement, she didnt feel elated. But then a year later, as she contemplated trying again, she read her mostly-written draft. For a first draft, and a rushed one at that, it wasnt half bad, she wrote in a guest post on the Kreativehaus blog. Maybe this whole shut the inner critic up and just write attitude really worked. Maybe it wasnt a wasted effort after all. That kick in the pants helped her finish some short stories, and shes now been published (see her short story, strange Attractors,. Daily Science fiction ).
But time is still time. Says faulkner, Im very inspired by the story of Toni morrison. As a single working mom of two, she carved out a few minutes to write before bed. The Bluest eye in that time. Few of us have the nobel laureates talent or drive. But its about finding those nooks and crannies death of time, faulkner says. If he told himself I will write when I have those two hours of uninterrupted time in my peaceful office, it would never happen. But he can wake up 15 minutes early, or sit in a parking lot for 10 minutes and write. The ten minutes between conference calls are completely usable if youve got big goals, even if most people just check email instead.
a really good idea of how you spend your time. Most people really dont know, he says. You putter around with the mail pile for 15 minutes while dinner is cooking. You lose 30 minutes following links your friends post on Facebook. Sure, you may have to give something up, but it may not be something important. Divya breed, an engineer and writer who attempted nanowrimo a few years ago, tells me that the month did prove to me that Life without tv wasnt going to destroy my morale. Small Bits Of Time Add. In her book, overwhelmed: Work, love, and Play when no one has The time, journalist Brigid Schulte claims that for many working parents, free time comes in bits of time confettia few minutes here and there.
Now when I think of the month, i think of doing two hours per day, or 60 hours for the month, he says. The good news is for that 60 hours over a 720-hour month isnt that much. I feel like its very doable, he says. Many big goals have similarly limited requirements. If youre already a runner, you can train for a marathon in fewer than 10 hours per week over 16 weeks. These are numbers you can get your head around. So how do you find two hours a day?
Visual, novel, day 2: Inspiration!
By laura vanderkam 5 minute read, every november, several hundred thousand people sign up for a crazy goal: They want to resumes crank out a 50,000-word rough draft of a novel in 30 days. National novel Writing Month,. Nanowrimo for short, was started by Chris Baty in 1999 to provide support for fellow writers trying to cross write a novel off their bucket lists. The stunt has produced a lot of novels, but beyond that, its taught participants some important time management lessons. Here are seven that can help you achieve big goals of all kinds, even if youre not trying to write a novel this month:. Accomplishing Amazing Things doesnt Require An Infinite Amount Of Time. Writing 50,000 words in a month requires writing just under 1,700 words per day. Grant faulkner, executive director of nanowrimo, will be participating for the sixth time this year. Hes figured out that 1,700 words requires writing for about two hours.