Forgive the brevity of my post this week, but I recently completed Camp NaNoWriMo, and I’m still recovering. (As in giving my mind some time to rest!) I’m excited to report I finished with 25,216 words written on my novel. (I had set my word count goal at 25K.)
Although the manuscript is not even close to completion, I feel I reached a milestone. My goal is for the first draft to be between 80,000 and 90,000 words. I suspect with edits the word count will decrease, and then increase.
Here are a few things I learned (and some things I knew that were reinforced) from the Camp NaNo experience:
- First drafts really are terrible. I’m saying it nicely, but let’s say I totally agree with Anne Lamott.
- Don’t worry that the first draft is horrible. Just write. Don’t edit. Write.
- Writing a novel takes persistence and hard work. A writer must be intentional and set specific goals. I’ve found that setting a word count is better than setting a time. Example: I will write 1000 words per day rather than I will write two hours each day.
- No man (or woman) is an island—we need the support and encouragement of others. A huge thanks to both my weekly critique group and to my online friends who encouraged me through this.
- While being a panster (writing by the seat of your pants) works for some writers, it’s helpful to have at least a general outline.
- Stories often take you on an unknown journey. I already know the final destination of this book, but I’m amazed and the twists and turns it is taking.
- Keep writing. Don’t stop when you meet your goal, set a new one.
- Plan ahead for your blog posts, otherwise you won’t blog. (Lesson well learned!)
I’m still working on the novel, but I plan to be back to my regular blogging schedule each Wednesday, plus First Friday Fiction.
What are some tips that have helped you as a writer? Please share in the comments.