Monday, November 15, 2010

Half way point pep talk

Please welcome guest blogger Marie Andreas!

Hello you mad, wild, and crazy NaNo’ers- happy halfway point!

My name is Marie and while I have won NaNo the two years I did it ( the last two ;)), I’m not doing it this year. I had to do my own “NaNo” in Sept where, through my own screw up, I had to crank out about 20,000 words in one week. So, I’m out this year- but will be back next! However- I’m here to cheer you on and remind you just WHY you’ve spent the last 15 days counting and hoarding every word, refusing to delete anything, and becoming obsessed with your writing.

First of all- you all need to pat yourselves on the back. Regardless of your current word count, you’ve been writing far outside your normal comfort zone for over two weeks now. Heck, just by being writers we’re going above and beyond “normal” folks. Ask any five people on the street if they’ve ever wanted to write and I’ll bet four will say yes. But they don’t do it. Just by writing you’ve taken that step to follow your dreams.

And many writers don’t do NaNo. For a myriad of reasons, probably as many as you all have for being here, they chose not to face the gauntlet of word madness. I think they’re missing out on something magical.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Because it’s a challenge. NaNo is like Mt. Kilimanjaro for writers. And it’s a great learning tool. Most writers, even we seat of the pants type folks- have some inner censor going on when we write. Some little voice that makes us stop and question ourselves mid-chapter.

You can’t do that during NaNo (and if you have managed to do so the last 15 days- STOP NOW! You’ll end up spraining your brain or some other vital organ ;)). In pure self-defence you have to take that little voice, stick a gag in his mouth and ship him off to Siberia. When you’re cranking out 50,000 words (page count of 170-200 pages depending on the writer) in one month- you are writing CRAP. Lots, and lots, of crap. And you don’t care! Your only goal is to fill up those pages. You can’t listen to any inner voice no matter how loud- because you simply don’t have time.

Right now you should all be hip deep in it. It’s not supposed to be pretty. It’s supposed to be hard. Even if you are looking at your word count in despair- don’t give up! Yes, 50,000 words are needed for the win, but even crossing that finish line- saying that you gave it your all for 30 days will do wonders for who you are as a writer.

And that’s really what this whole thing is about, expanding who we are as writers. Each time you run through NaNo you learn something new about yourself and your writing. Right now you all are halfway through one of the most difficult and wonderful things a writer can do.

Take a moment out to pat yourself on the back one more time, then crank up the writing music and dive back into the fray. No matter how many NaNo’s you’ve done this one will be special.

I know you’ll make it! Best of luck and most important of all- HAVE FUN!!

Cindy here - I want to thank Marie for being with us today. There was some great, motivating stuff in there. Check out her blog about writers, writing, and the oddness of the written word.



Cindy Carroll said...

Thanks for being here, Marie! It is so true that you learn something about yourself and your writing. I've discovered that I'm part pantser part plotter. I'm a puzzler! And so far it's working out great for me. I just wish I had done NaNo before this. It would have helped to know this about my process a long time ago. :)

Marie Andreas said...

Thanks for inviting me Cindy :). I'm sitting by the sidelines cheering you all on like mad! Next year I need to time my books better so I can go back to my naNoing ways ;).

litchick89 said...

Cindy: I've never had an outline before this year, but I've discovered that it helps me write so much faster!
Marie: You talked about the tons of crap that come from NaNo, which is certainly true, but you forgot to mention those moments (or sometimes a whole session if you're lucky) of pure gold! They are what keeps me writing; I know that if I write enough, I'll get something I really like! :)