NaNoWriMo 2017: The First Week

The first week of NaNoWriMo is mostly fun with a side of anxious. Fresh ideas abound even if you secretly worry about hitting 50,000 words by the end of the month. And with the excitement of getting the words on the page, hitting the 1,667 daily word goal seems fairly easy at this point.

I usually have my best writing days during the first week.

Case in point: yesterday I wrote 3,204 words. w00t!

(If you want to keep up with my word counts, I’m posting them here, which you can also access via the menu bar above.)

hemmingwayquote.jpg

I’ve found the key to successfully hitting my word count goal is just to free write. Write without the care of grammar. Without worry of word choice. Without thoughts of structure. And what I’ve found works best for me is to write by hand, not computer. Even though I type faster than I can write, writing just frees up my brain and lets my creativity flow.

When I type, I focus on the words magically appearing on the page letter by letter. But that’s the problem—I pay more attention to each individual word rather than getting the sentence, the idea, the story on the page.

(I also get distracted by that little red squiggly line that indicates I misspelled a word.)

And because I focus on the individual words, I get caught up on word choice. Then I get caught up on grammar, punctuation, sentence structure—those things that are trivial at this point in writing a first draft. But I get so caught up in the minutiae, I fail to get the story out. And that’s why I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for 9 years, but have only ever “won” (reached 50,000+ words) once.

When I focus on those tasks that should be reserved for the editing phase, I find my creativity sputters and dies.

picoultwritingquote.jpgSo that’s why I chose to write my story in a notebook  with an actual pen this year. (Plus, there are other reasons why writing benefits you.)

My hand may not thank me at the end of the month, but my story will. And after only two days, I can say so far it’s working. The words are pouring out on the page and more ideas are brewing in my head. In fact, I woke up this morning with new ideas.

And after I get the story out of my head and on the page, then I’ll worry about word choice, grammar, structure, and all those editing things.

So my NaNoWriMo Week 1 advice to you: Just write! And Frget about all the other stuff.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2017? What writing tips and advice do you have? Or what questions about the writing process do you want answered? Tell me in the comments below.

 

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