You know what I've found very ironic about this whole NaNoWriMo thing? Your goal is to write, just write approximately 1,700 words per day without distractions and such. Yet their site is chock full of lovely distractions, and it can be very, well, distracting. From the innocuous things like filling out author information to getting on the chat forums or browsing the NaNo store, they haven't exactly done the best job in keeping writers on track while on there, haha. ;)
I've actually limited myself to using the word counter and that's about it, to keep my progress updated. I don't dare explore the rest of the site now, or I'll most definitely find myself wasting time, which is not what I'm here to do.
That being said, I'm two days into this thing and already have a neat 7,500 words laying on my [virtual] page, which I'm quite happy about. Yes, I've been trying to double my daily word count for this weekend because next weekend I will be gone at a convention with no opportunity to write, so I've got to make up for that now.
And though again, I'm only two days into my first go at this thing, just having a goal that says you must get so much done definitely helps eliminate the petty excuses not to write, including my all-time favorite, "I don't feel like it." Because really, unless I'm actually feeling awful or my head hurts too much to write, 'I don't feel like it' is not a valid excuse.
I have to say, too, I'm not all that impressed with most of the extra hype about NaNoWriMo. The pressure, if you'd like to call it that, to set and finish a large goal is definitely a good strategy, and somehow, doing it with a bunch of other writers makes it that much more important that you finish yours...but like most popular things, it gets blown up into this big complicated and extravagant thing. Frankly, I could do without most of the extraneous fancy stuff, but that's just me.
Some people say NaNo is just about you and your writing, and not to worry about anyone else, but I rather disagree. Not only does having writers of all skills and ages participate in this with you help you feel like you actually can do this, knowing it has been done also makes it feel that much more attainable. 50,000 words in 30 days sounds pretty daunting until you do the math and find out that's only about 1,667 words a day. That's not even a full chapter!
And if you plan out what you want to write before November (if you're the planning type), when you actually sit down to write it, it just sort of flows out of your mind and onto the paper. It's rather magical, really. :) At least, that's been my experience so far. All two days of it. ;)
But somewhat strangely, knowing I was going to do NaNo about four months ago got me really excited about actually writing it. it gave me a set period of time to work on what I was going to write, character personalities, work out the plot kinks, etc, and just allow myself not to worry about actually writing it just yet. Kind of in the same way freeing yourself from trying to edit while writing the first draft makes it much easier, planning without writing makes the process a lot easier, at least for me.
And because NaNo is about just getting it all down so you can edit it after November, there's not a lot of time to worry about trying to make it pretty; just get it down and feel proud as you watch that word counter climb. Oh, and just for the record, word counters are pretty awesome. Just looking up from a great writing sprint and going 'wow, I just wrote 1,000 words!' somehow feels more concrete and accomplished than just knowing 'well, I wrote this part today'.
In fact, since my novel is definitely over 50,000 words, I'm thinking I might just continue writing the rest of the novel as if it's still NaNo. My last novel ended at about 100k, so another month's sprint could potentially have the entire novel finished, which is really exciting! :)
So, what's your experience been with NaNo, if you've done it? Is this your first time, or have you done it in past years? And if you haven't participated, what are your thoughts on the whole NaNo hype, and would you consider doing it some year?
Well, I'm off to start writing my word quota for the day. :) I just got to introducing one of my favorite characters, so I'm very excited to write this! I only wish I could show it to you all right now, but, alas, it is still quite a mess. It looks beautiful in my head, but on the paper, it's still got a lot of work left. ;) But I'm working as hard as I can on it, so next year it'll be finished and published!
Anywho, good luck to all your NaNoers, and to everyone: have a spectacular day!