One of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo is because it not only challenges you, but it teaches you–that is, if you let it. So, this year, I took a step back to see what I’ve learned.
You see, I really love the novels I’m planning. I want to enjoy writing them in all the drafts, not just the first ones. In my attempt at editing my last NaNoWriMo novel, it was a pain. Everyone said it was simple: macro edit, micro edit, beta readers, done. Mine was simply falling apart and not enjoyable. It wasn’t what it was.
Me being me, I also decided to find out what went wrong and how I could improve. Using that, here is what I am going to do differently this April.
1. Know When to Take Breaks
December 1, I was tired. I’d almost hit my OA goal the night before, then had to go to bed. My novel still had a lot of story left in it. So, I took a few days off. I was not only drained physically, but I was drained of creativity. Forcing yourself to write may be a NaNo essential, but save yourself and know when to take some time off. (I talk more about this here)
2. Run Spellcheck
What? You mean… editing? Lowering my word count?*clouds turn gray, children scream, stereotype breaks* No, I do not. I mean, when I go back to my novel, I’m going to see “say” instead of “sai”, “that” instead of “dat”, etc, which is going to make it much easier on me. When I am done writing for the day (or if I’m writing a lot, done a chapter), I will run basic spell check so my novel appears easier to edit. It’s a psychological thing. It won’t even take time out of my writing.
3.When in Doubt, Write it Out
No, I did not steal this rhyme from when I played soccer. You may have heard of the whole “write what you love in a novel”. Well, when I’m in writer’s block, I want to write a scene that’s not plot relevant, but it’s just something nice and pretty and flowy that I’m going to enjoy. I recommend this to anyone. Write something merely for your pleasure that you will look back and smile at. (Now, I realize for some of us this may be stabbing characters…please refrain.)
So, that’s what I’m doing differently this April! If you’ve ever participated in NaNo, or ever written a novel, what are you going to do differently next time? What have you learned?