Many Wrimos (NaNoWriMo participants) memorialize their experiences through daily vlogs, but I decided to do my own 'diluted' version. In case you didn't know, I flooded Instagram last month with daily writing motivation. I could say it was to motivate others but truly, it was key to motivating myself to write daily. In order to post in earnest, I had to actually commit to writing, so I wrote almost everyday. I finished every post with a 'lesson of the day' of sorts. Here are the twenty lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo, which kinda makes for the perfect wrap-up post. Check out my Instagram account for all the pictures that go along with them.
Follow your headlights.
It's easy to be discouraged by not knowing the middle or ending of our stories. But writing is about keeping your eyes on the road and using the light cast by your headlights to lead the way.
Just sit down.
Fear can be so crippling. Being fearful of having nothing to write can sometimes make you walk away from the keyboard altogether. Writing is kind of like working out in that way - just get there and the work will come.
Said is dead.
Okay, so it turns out 'said' isn't as dead as I thought, despite how uninspiring and lackluster it sounds. Through comments I discovered tons of alternative words (exclaimed, whispered, shouted) and that in many instances "said" is actually the best option. Also, it's about time I get around to reading On Writing by Stephen King.
Even on day when you don't write, it's okay. There's always tomorrow and it will be better.
Write through it.
The difference between a good writing day and a bad one is the ability to push through whatever roadblocks you encounter. And sometimes, you end up loving it even more.
Don't wait to be inspired.
If you find that you aren't inspired to write the scene that's up next, don't wait for it. Switch it up, change the scene around, or introduce a new character earlier than expected. A reader won't be inspired to read what you weren't inspired to write.
Remind yourself what happens next.
Getting started can be the hardest part of each writing session. So instead of ending a scene and walking away, I take a moment at the end of a writing session to jot down a sentence about what's happening next, so I can hit the ground running next time.
There's always editing.
Some writing is better than no writing, even if it's 'bad'. Because it still gives you something to work with in editing. You can't edit a blank page.
Falling in love with your story and your characters is such a great feeling. Don't let the evil eye of comparison steal your joy and negate all that.
Write from the point of view that inspires you.
Once I stopped obsessing over choosing and sticking with a certain point of view, writing became a lot easier and more authentic. Whether it's first or third person, if it inspires you, that's all that matters.
Water it, it will grow.
One of my favorites. The more I write, the more I get to know my characters and struggle with the plot and the world they exist in. And then things just start clicking out of nowhere!
Writing is HARD!
To anyone who doesn't do it, it seems like a easy task, something they think they'll eventually do. But after three weeks of constant battle, it's clear. It's like solving an equation without the formula; it's hard.
Own your progress.
There comes a time when you may not feel like you're progressing far enough, fast enough. But never forget to own the progress you've made. Take a quick look behind and admire how far you are from where you started.
Trust your characters.
You do what you can to raise them right but when your characters start pulling at the reigns, you gotta let 'em go and trust that they know where to they're headed.
I write, therefore I am.
I've struggled with calling myself a writer for a while, as evidenced by many a blog post. But somewhere during this month, I finally accepted that there's no entrance exam. The act of writing is what makes me a writer.
You are so much better than you know.
It's easy to let self-doubt creep into your psyche. But if you push it, you'll surprise yourself. I wrote 7,000 words that day. Not the 10K I was aiming for, but holy hell!
Appreciate the craft of writing.
I was about 12 when I realized writing was my passion. Since then I've lost and found it again multiple times, but I'm so lucky to have discovered my passion at all.
Cling to the glimmer of hope.
The finish line might seem so far off, but so long as it is still in sight, so is victory.
Finish what you started.
I've always loved this quote. And it was just what I needed to push at the end.
Your heart always knows best.
When you write because it's the only thing that feels right, it's the heart that leads the way. And if you just let your heart push through sometimes you end up with something that feels so genuine and so engrained in your soul that it fits perfectly. It ends up feeling less like make believe and more like real life, and that's the best feeling. My heart definitely carried me through to 50,000 words <3
So ends my NaNo experience but the writing - the writing has just begun :)