Saturday, September 15, 2012

Writing Lessons of 2012 - Pt 1

Photo courtesy of Jade on
That heading makes this sound like I'm going to talk about all the "rules" of writing I've learned about (many of which I've learned to take with a grain of salt), but nope. I've learned some much more valuable lessons in the last year than the "rules" of writing.

First, I'll start with some background. This week and next week, I'll share what all of it has taught me.

It actually started in November 2010. Yes, I said 2010. Two years ago. I found out about the madness of NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don't know about this writing "competition", check it out. It'll either make you nuts or spur you onward in ways you never imagined. Being a WriMo writing a NaNovel is an entirely new adventure, and the forums provide some incredible encouragement, support and contact with other WriMos. But I digress.

I unofficially joined the madness of NaNoWriMo for November 2010. I say "unofficially" because I didn't bother to sign up and actually track my daily counts on the site. I kept track of it unofficially on my own computer. I doubted I'd be able to meet the 50K goal, but I made it with 1K to spare. Imagine my shock. I could actually do it!

So I officially joined the site and eagerly waited for November 2011 to roll around. I had no idea what I would write for the event, but I knew I could do it, and I wanted to participate. As November 1st drew closer, I realized two things:

(1) I knew what I wanted to write. The story had been in my head for a couple of years, and it was time to write it.

(2) My parents were coming for a visit over Thanksgiving, so I'd have to be very careful to meet my daily goals or I'd likely fall behind and not make goal. As a result, I determined to meet my 50K goal, if at all possible, before their arrival the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

I wrote over 75K that month. Started AND finished that book! I had no idea I could do that.... My brain resembled mush at the end of the month, but it was so worth it.

Then came December. I joined ACFW at the recommendation of a couple of writer friends (thank you, Carol and Janice!). And I discovered Novel Track. Not only did they have a Writing track that happened on a regular basis, they had an Editing track as well. For those, you set your own goals rather than have it set for you like with NaNoWriMo.  (# of words written for NTW. # of pages edited for NTE.) Since I knew what I was capable of writing, I jumped in starting that first week of January, and with the exception of July, I've participated in one of those tracks every month this year.

In January, I wrote an entire novel PLUS a novella (~40K), and worked on another project besides. My most productive month ever. In the months to follow, I finished some incomplete projects.

Then came June - Camp NaNoWriMo - related to NaNoWriMo but set up differently. Instead of November's free-for-all, I found myself sharing a virtual cabin with 5 other writers. I was able to keep 2 of those cabinmates for August's Camp as well. Again, 50K goal for the month. I started a new series in June and continued it in August. I began with the intention of a 4-book series. But an idea for book #5 hit me yesterday morning. So 5 it is. I made goal both months. By-passed it actually.

August is winding down. September is just around the corner. I plan to use September and October to edit a couple of those completed projects, assuming plans don't get changed, as sometimes happens.

November rapidly approaches as well, with another NaNoWriMo. I already know what I'm writing for that month.

So what has all this writing, editing and tracking madness taught me? Tune in next time for the answer to that question.

No comments:

Post a Comment