Thirty thousand words is the magical number for NaNoWriMo participants as of the end of the day. I’m slightly ahead of schedule, and that’s a good thing since I’ll be traveling at the end of the week and may have to cash in those extra words.
This past week, I worked my way past the halfway point and that felt incredible. Although, shortly before that happened, I wrote my way into a corner and couldn’t figure out how to get out of it. Wanting to press on, I put my characters in a room to see what might happen and one of them did something that was consistent with who she is, but I just didn’t see it coming. That fixed the problem.
The beauty of NaNoWriMo is, it doesn’t allow you to stop producing words. My natural tendency would have been to stop writing for a few days until I could figure out what to do. But I would have missed the opportunity to be in the moment with my characters to see how they would respond.
As a non-fiction writer, I should have known this, but for some reason it didn’t compute. If I’m on deadline with a newspaper, I can’t put the article aside to figure out how to shape it. I just have to dive in and fight my way through the fog until it lifts. And it will lift as long as I keep moving. Now that I know the same methodology applies to fiction, I’ll take full advantage of it.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, I would love to hear what you are learning.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.