Yep, I’m taking the insane plunge into NaNoWriMo this year.

NaNo dovetails nicely with 90 Day Novel by Alan Watt, which I’m working through now. It just puts it on steroids. Two big things I learned from 90 Day are:

  • Macro Story Elements – To hold on to story idea loosely. Translated: when doing prep work, do not be attached to what you initially think your story is about or how the dominoes should fall (structure). To be willing to travel down obscure roads and to investigate whatever pops into your head. Side alleys and dirt paths are there for a reason…or, as I’m fond of saying, your subconscious is a sometimes massively smarter than you are. It’s key to understand that story influences character and character affects story. The relationship is fluid. A change in one often results in a change in the other. Stop looking for a sure thing.
  • Micro Story Elements – In prep work (imagining the world of the story and its characters…especially characters), to write whatever spills out and to be willing to go down those shadowy paths, trusting that at least a goodly part of the time you’ll find a nugget of gold. Okay, sometimes silver. Or copper. There is no wasted work.

Of course, I’ve read about uncensored writing for years, but actually implementing it has been a revelation. It’s a throwback to Dorothea Brande’s Becoming a Writer, first published in 1934, in which she advised to write immediately after waking so you access the subconscious and avoid the conscious editor. I’ve been using this technique while working through 90 Day, with astounding results. I read my entries later in the day and say, “Whoa. I wrote this? This came out of me?”. In a good way.

All this is a way of getting around the internal editor which, if you harbor any hope of completing NaNo, is essential. 50,000 words in thirty days? To do that, you must drive forward with no peeks over your shoulder for editing or revision. You cannot afford the time-eating luxury of looking back.

I’m going at this full bore, having joined three NaNo groups, some with writing buddies. For a solid introvert like me, this is saying something.

So, here’s to eyes straight ahead and fingers flying across the keys. The fun begins Thursday, November 1.


“Jump in, the water’s fine.” I suspect it’s a lie, but foolishly make the dive anyway

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5 Responses to “Jump in, the water’s fine.” I suspect it’s a lie, but foolishly make the dive anyway.

  1. I’ve found writing first thing in the morning yields good results too – but I find it so hard to get up early enough. And thanks for the sentiment of ‘There is no wasted work’. I’ll try to remember that!

    Good luck with NaNo! Hopefully we can both make it 🙂

  2. Erica Miles says:

    If we keep focus, I’m sure we will hit our word counts. Because I’m a slow writer, my new schedule is to rise at 4 AM and get three hours of writing in before the regular day begins. Kill two birds with one stone – Butt in Chair and Conscious Editor disabled.

    The plan looks good on paper. 😉

  3. Margaret says:

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo I’m doing it for the fifth time (I think) I just love it. Soemthing’s happened to my morning writing, for some reason I stopped doing it – thanks for the reminder about it and how well it works. Oh and thanks for the links to a couple of new (for me) books.

  4. Erica Miles says:

    Morning writing is definitely a habit that’s easy to get out of. It’s so easy to hit the snooze button on the alarm clock…

    NaNo five times? I’m impressed!