Update: NaNoWriMo2013 (#1)

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Good morning NaNoWriMo writers!

I have a post going up tomorrow with some writing inspiration, but thought it would be fun to have my own introduction to NaNoWriMo — as well as start a weekly process of sharing some updates with you all.

Week One Update: 

I’ve had a very productive first few days of NaNoWriMo and ended at the end of day 2 with 14,003 words. Now, that might seem like a lot, BUT in the past I get a major head start and then dwindle down towards the end of the month. This — I’m hoping — will be the first year I WIN at NaNoWriMo, rather than petering out at 30,000 or 40,000 words.

Me and Writing: 

When it comes to writing, I will admit that I don’t do it as often as I should. Whenever I do sit down to write, I love it and I love creative stories — especially short stories — and I love trying to flesh out quirky and silly stories. It’s just fun to create — amirite?

For me, the fall/winter period is definitely one for writing down words, writing stories. And when the spring hits I love to write music. I’m not sure why, but the world being covered in white really gets my brain going for stories and then when things start to turn green and the world renews, all I can think about is music. Can a brain think in song? I think so.

For a little inspiration, here’s a post that I wrote for my now-defunct blog Winter Distractions in regards to writing:

In the past week I’ve talked with the people around me about my NaNoWriMo experience thus far and have been quite amazed by the amount of people who say they wish they could be a writer. I honestly can’t remember where this advice came from, but I definitely read it in one of my writing encouragement books, but the answer is: TO WRITE.

I’ve noticed that in the past 14 days, I’ve written lots of words and sometimes I get discouraged that they’re not coming out properly or that maybe they’re — actually there’s no maybe about it — not up to par with some of my favourite writers.

THIS IS OKAY.

Writing takes practice. In order to do it well, one must write. A lot.

What got me thinking about this was picking up my ukulele, piano, and singing again in the past few days. Now, I’ve done this lots in the past, well, 13 years, BUT I feel like I’ve fallen off the wagon with my practicing and that I could get better. My voice doesn’t have the range it used to, my fingers fumble and make mistakes on the piano, and my fingers just can’t remember certain chords on the ukulele (not to mention the pain I feel in the tips of my fingers from pressing on the strings. Ouch.).

While I’d love to be really good in, say, a week, I know it’s going to take longer. Just with anything you want to do well, you have to do it a lot. This means I must sing a lot — pick songs that are in the range I want to sing and try to work my vocal chords up there. I also must play the ukulele a lot — find easy songs to play and slowly expand my chord knowledge as I go. I also must play the piano a lot — dig out my old books, the songs I’ve written, and cover songs and just play, play, play.

You can’t expect to get better overnight, which is a good thing. Can you imagine what we’d be like if we could both learn AND master something within a day or even a week? We’d know EVERYTHING! And what fun would that be?

Not much.

So, when it comes to writing, I follow the advice of writers. Read lots. Read widely, as well as the genres you want to write in. Write lots. And, I have to say, write widely as well. Write poems, write short stories, write novels — just WRITE. You’ll never get better unless you take that first step and actually DO.

So go forth, NaNoWriMo writers! Go forth and write!

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12 thoughts on “Update: NaNoWriMo2013 (#1)

    • I try to not restart for NaNo … though I have stalled out in the past. I’m really, really hoping that doesn’t happen this time around. I did start another story last year in conjunction with the one I was already writing for NaNo. Of course, I didn’t win, but trying is good, right?

      Good luck with your story!

  1. I love this post, and I think it’s really encouraging! I’ve had a few book ideas for probably a year or more, but I’m so intimidated… I’m a perfectionist, and I want things to be good and whole. I guess the reality is, that’s NEVER going to happen. But I’d rather get working on something, and have the raw material to work with, rather than constantly daydream about it in my head and have nothing to show for it. I definitely needed to hear this advice, and I’m thinking I’m going to continue on with NaNo… I’ve written a little bit yesterday and today, and it feels like a good time to get my but in gear and just TRY, considering all the other people doing the same thing right now: a good support system.

    • It’s a WONDERFUL support system. Not everyone is going to be able to fly through writing their book. Everyone will have struggles and it’s definitely nice to see that you’re not alone if you’re struggling.

      I can totally hear you with the perfectionism thing. I usually write music, which doesn’t take as long, but it’s so much easier to strive for perfection there. With writing a story, a story takes a LOT of dedication and a LOT of words — it’s time consuming! But you’re right, I think it’s better to get the bare bones down because then you really have accomplished something. If you finish with something that has a beginning, a middle, and an end, then it’s much easier to work with than something you abandoned half finished (like I’ve done in the past!).

      Good luck with it, Ashley! 🙂

  2. I’m still so excited that you’re doing NaNo this year. I’ve been so busy the last few days I haven’t had much time to write, which is stressing me out, but I’m hoping to dedicate this entire week to writing, and get a bunch of words knocked out.

    “Writing takes practice. In order to do it well, one must write. A lot.” Yes, times a million. I also love the music analogy you used – it’s so true. You need to just DO it, accept that it may not be great at first – it may be difficult and painful and frustrating – but with regular practice, you’ll get better and smarter and faster, etc.

    • I’ve been the opposite … I work this week, have appointments and other engagements, but my weekend has been pretty open. It feels nice to get a good head start!

      And practice definitely makes perfect! I’m sure there are still authors and musicians out there who have been doing this for years and years who still have their own doubts. We’re human. It’s inevitable.

  3. Wow! Great start!..lol I’m having a bit of a hard time with my beginning, so it’s going fairly slowly, I’m behind a lot and didn’t get to write yesterday. I’m hoping that tonight I can get some done after Kailyn is in bed, since that gives me like 4-5 hours to myself, I should be able to catch up, maybe..

    • Slow starts are okay, too! You just haven’t found your groove yet! I’m expecting to get to 25 – 30, 000 and get stuck, but who knows. So long as I have the idea in my head I’m going to keep writing!

      Hope you get some good stuff in tonight!

  4. Pingback: Update: NaNoWriMo2013 (#2) | Reading In Winter

  5. Pingback: Update: NaNoWriMo2013 (#4) | Reading In Winter

My home is where my books are. - Ellen Thompson

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