Friday, January 8, 2010

Are You Ready for the Challenge?

GRRWG's version of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicks off tomorrow, Jan. 9th. We've challenged ourselves to write 40,000 words between tomorrow and the February meeting. That equates to 4.57 something pages a day. AAACCCKKK! some of you say. That's more than I can do, it's more than I can think about, do I have to?

Stop whining. I've done 50K in 30 days twice now. It almost killed me, but it was good stuff (eventually.)

Here are some suggestions to help you make this goal:
  • Turn off your inner editor. Kill her. Stuff her in a box. Mail her to Alaska (it will take two weeks for the package to get there. Trust me, I know this stuff.) Don't let her peek at anything you've written.
  • Don't peek at anything you've written. Okay, maybe the last sentence, but not any further back than that, or you'll start correcting stuff and THAT'S NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO DO. The direction is forward, not backward.
  • Don't erase anything. Word count is word count. If you absolutely, positively can't stand the thought of it on the page, highlight it, go to Format->Borders and Shading->Shading and pick a color (gray, black) that will keep it from sight. But do it quick.
  • Look at the clock and mentally advance it 20 minutes. Give yourself permission to write for 20 minutes. That's doable, right? Piece of cake. Don't set a timer, though, you want to trick your mind into writing longer. It works.
  • Become a fan of XXX. Don't search for the perfect word. Or that piece of research you need. (Your inner editor is camping in the tundra, remember?) Instead, use XXX or namethischaracterxx or brandofsneakerxx or whatever will be easy to search later.
  • The same with a scene that isn't working. It's legitimate to use (insert sword fight herexx)
  • Even if you think you’re writing dreck, it’s good dreck. Not every building can be the Taj Mahal. Sometimes you have to start with a straw hut and make a lot of improvements. This is a vomit draft. Quality, not quantity is all that matters. Throw up all over the page, change plot direction, forget what color eyes your character has or what they wore in the last scene. It doesn't matter. Repeat after me - It doesn't matter.
Now, go forth and write. 40K in 35 days. I have faith in you.

No comments: