I won Nanowrimo. My prizes? A victory lap, a funky digital badge, and a manuscript I need to leave I in a drawer for six months. It’s a good thing I have lots of other projects on deck, so much that I’m feeling all kinds of pressure lately. I’m OK with that, too – really.
The big lesson I learned from doing this work is as follows:
- I can totally write 1700 words a day.
- The principles of nanowrimo is true of all creative commitment: just keep showing up. You don’t need to feel it every day, you just need to be there. Needing the mood, inspiration, or ambience really is just an excuse to avoid doing the work part of true creative work. Creativity shows up on its own schedule, but by setting patterns you can get it to show up when you’re there, too.
- Thank heavens for the rewrite process.
I do want to say that a year ago, I probably could not do 1700 words a day on a single piece that large. Now I easily can. I believe that sticking to the Artist’s Way series really did help me build those skills, by rearranging and removing those mental blocks and by showing me how to go about establishing the discipline I needed to do the work. This did not happen overnight. Just as building a 4 day a week gym habit has taken time, practice, and perseverance, writing 1700 words a day has taken practice, repetition, and making sure I gave myself absolutely no shit whatsoever when I “only” managed to write 500 words a day.
My experience writing this novel was brain-breaking, in part because I typically do take days off from writing on the weekends, and this time I had to skip that. The 50K goal in 30 days is a tough one. I don’t know if I will do this to myself next year, it all depends on what story speaks to me at that time. I’m not sure I would regularly do 50K words in a month – but I would totally do 1700 words per day. That I can do.