My writing brain is on fire! In a good way.
It’s because of NaNoWriMo. One of the things I like best about participating is that it reminds me of a few key points that I seem to forget over the course of the year.
For example, when I’m stuck on a current or future plot point, I tend to quit writing and brainstorm until I figure it out. This sometimes means days or even weeks of not writing. During NaNo, however, I have to keep going or I’ll never meet my goal.
And a funny thing happens.
The more I write, the more ideas I have, and the easier they come.
This month the plot bunnies have been multiplying like, well, bunnies in my mind. I’ve been waking up with new visions for my storyline, thinking of story concepts while walking the dog, and solving character dilemmas while driving in my car.
When I first started writing—and couldn’t wait to sit down to do it every day—this happened to me all the time. I was full-to-bursting with ideas on where to take my stories. Somewhere along the way I lost my trust in that process, and I lost the constant flow of revelations.
Pushing myself through NaNoWriMo reminds me that my brain works best when I’m writing.
Sure, I may go off on tangents, and I may end up cutting a lot of what I write later, but that’s okay. If that’s the price of the ideas I need, I’ll take it. And often, even what gets cut becomes useful down the road. If nothing else, it’s practice.
The other thing this challenge always reminds me is that I can write more than I think I can.
On a normal day, I might reach 1000 words and feel like I can’t do much more. Or I might get stumped after writing 876 words and decide it’s a good spot to quit while I ponder what should come next. But since I now need to produce more words to meet the 50K goal, somehow I just push through the 1K barrier, I force myself to write through the tough spot.
And you know what? I can. Every. Time.
Someone remind me of that when January rolls around and I’m struggling again. 😉
These are some of the reasons I participate in NaNoWriMo. It’s about much more than getting down 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s about reigniting my writing.
What about you? Any lessons learned—or relearned—from NaNoWriMo so far?
Image credit: Match: By Sebastian Ritter (Rise0011) (Own work) (CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)), via Wikimedia Commons
J. W. Hankins
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