Don’t get it right – just get it written.

11 Nov

Quiz: I say, “NaNoWriMo,” and you say: 

  1. Nice to meet you, Mork from Ork!
  2. Lay off the wine!
  3. How many words do you have?

The correct answer is #3 (although #2 may have validity, depending on the day).

If you haven’t heard of it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November (since 1999, officially), writers around the world sit down and commit themselves to cranking out a novel (well, technically it’s kind of a novella because the word count is 50,000) during the 30 days of November. Last year over 200,000 writers participated.

It’s pretty great because it forces you to live by the adage, “Don’t get it write, get it written.” When you’re trying to crank out roughly 2,000 words each day on a cohesive theme, there’s no room for editing, ego or over-thinking. You just show up, put the words on the page and keep moving. It’s a pretty great exercise to force people into a writing habit.

The year I lived in France, I wrote two drafts of a manuscript. I believe the final word count was somewhere around 130,000, which is still fairly short. I was able to do it by imposing discipline on myself: every day I didn’t let myself leave the apartment until I’d put at least 1,000 words down, and I had to find another 1,000 before the day was up. Some days I wrote as if in a creative fugue, but most days I just muscled through it. But you know what? At the end of a a few months, I had a complete manuscript.

Since returning (eight – gasp!) years ago, that manuscript has sat in a little electronic folder on laptop after laptop. I haven’t touched it since I wrote it, mainly because I got sick of it. However, it’s also paralyzed me and prevented me from moving on and writing something else… I keep kind of feeling like I shouldn’t move on until I finish the second draft and put it to bed.

Well, I’m tired of waiting. Tired of having it sit there like a pile of cold peas, telling me I can’t move on to dessert until I eat them. And they aren’t even warm any more. (If they ever were is debatable.)

So here goes… if you don’t see as many pithy posts over the next few weeks, assume I’m off shooting for a word count in the NaNoWriMo world. And for my fellow writers out there – good luck!

5 Responses to “Don’t get it right – just get it written.”

  1. John November 11, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    May the NaNoWriMojo be with you!

  2. squirrel circus November 11, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    “Eat those peas young lady!” (Did that help? It used to work for my mom…) Good luck diving back in. Thanks also for the encouraging comment on my blog. I pledge to buckle down this weekend, too!

  3. lexy3587 November 11, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    good luck 🙂

  4. kmurtagh November 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Good luck. I really admire you. 🙂

  5. Lorna's Voice November 14, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    I wish you both the right and the write words! 🙂

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