LJWorld.com weblogs The Line of Letters
There’s a quote attributed to Leonard Bernstein cited on promotional materials for NaNoWriMo:
“To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.”
That really sums up what NaNoWriMo is all about. We come in and we think we know what we want to write. When we hit a snag and our plot fails us, we have several options:
- Give up.
- Write through it.
- Get together with other WriMos and bounce some ideas around.
Option 1 isn’t really an option for anyone who’s decided they’re participating in National Novel Writing Month. If one has determined that those 50,000 words will be written, well, then get writing. Sometimes option 2 is the best. Remember we’re not overly concerned with quality; rather, WriMos are trying to only get the story out of their heads and onto the page.
(Well, that’s not strictly true. We DO worry about quality here in Lawrence. I can’t speak for everyone because I’m only in one group and I know what we talk about the rest of the year. That’s why we say that December is for editing. But I digress.)
Option 3 has a couple of sub-options to it. There are the NaNo message boards, of which there’s one for our hometown. There are the write-ins where our Municipal Liaisons support, cajoling and sometimes teasing to get us back on track. It’s all about the writing. All of us from last year who are participating this year have benefited from one of the MLs telling us to just keep swimming. Whether it’s just an ‘attaboy’ or seeing where we fall in the Top Ten list for daily word counts, there’s a tremendous amount of support.
I’m about 4000 words ahead of my pace last year, and I’m pretty happy with how my little novel is turning out. It’s not great literature, mind you, but it’s pretty okay. With a little work (and a hammer and shovel and a whole lot of cement) it’s probably something I could release on my website next year. That’s due to the generous nature of everyone in the Lawrence group. I’m not afraid to write what I want to, knowing that I can share it with others in the group who would read it and offer a real critique when I’m ready.
Knowing that the support is there, that I can get some genuine feedback that will make the work better is what’s helping me meet my daily goal of at least 2000 words. I knew that increasing my overall goal from 50,000 to 60,000 was ambitious for me and that at times it would be a struggle, but I have faith that my group will help me through if I just ask them. It takes guts to write the book, to be sure. It takes a lot more guts to share it and make it better.