30 days can be regarded in a number of ways. It’s a full month on a calendar ( if you disregard February and forget the 31 day months); it’s a little over 4 exact weeks; it’s a pay period for most workers, a menstrual cycle, and a billing rotation. It’s the amount of time most people set aside to get a haircut. Psychologists tell us in 30 days we can form new and better habits, changing out old, bad ones. Many contact lenses need to be replaced every 30 days, and you should really change some of your makeup monthly as well.
All those things can be done in 30 days. Most with relative ease.
What’s not so easy to do in 30 days is write a 50,000+ word novel/first draft.
Don’t get me wrong: it can be done. And has.
But it really isn’t that easy.
We’re almost at the halfway time mark of this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I’m doing well – better than I expected, really. Right now I’m sitting in my local Subaru dealer getting my car inspected and fixing a recall problem.
And I’m typing. At this moment – this blog entry. But until a minute ago I was working on my NaNo WIP. I’ve found I bring my laptop with me everywhere I go, including to work, and when I can manage it – lunch hours and breaks in the day, – I open my NaNo file and … go.
The goal of 50,000 words can seem daunting. For most, it is. But for people like us who write for a living/hobby/obsession, it’s not as bad as it seems.
Breaking it down to a little over 1500 words per day – or roughly 6-7 pages of double spaced text – it can be done.
And remember – this is a first draft. It’s not the finished, polished, ready to submit one. That comes later with editing.
I find with this draft I usually do a lot of dialogue. I can always put in the subtext, tags, and descriptions later with the editing, but I like to know what my peeps are gonna say first and take the story from there. Dialogue comes quick to me – probably because I never shut up in real life! But seriously, whatever comes easiest for you – dialogue, exposition, description, or even backstory – go with it. Let it flow and let it go. Like I said, you can always go back later, after the challenge, and make it better.
But get those words on the page now. That’s what the important part of the challenge is. Training yourself to type everyday, to create on a timeline, to focus your thoughts and words.
So, how far are you at this halfway mark?