THE SOUL is shaped by words, images, & experiences.

THIS BLOG is about those things that have left their impression on me. I'd love for you to comment on what affects you.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My NaNoWriMo Experience

Whew! It's over. I can finally tackle that basket of ironing that's been piling up for a month. Some reward, huh?

Well, as you can see, I fell short of the 50K word goal. But never mind. What I did accomplish is a great achievement for pokey, picky, undisciplined me. I'm very happy with my word count. I got a huge chunk of my second novel written and I've learned some valuable lessons.

Here's a 3-part evaluation of my NaNo experience:


It's hard! As one of our NaNo pep-talkers put it, writing the first draft of a novel is like cutting granite out of a quarry. I'll go further to say you'll blast slabs out of that rocky wall, but then there will be days when it seems no matter what you do the quarry yields only chips. You have to keep at it. If you do nothing, you get nothing.


When you really push yourself to accomplish more than you think you're capable of, amazing things happen. Pressed to make my daily word goals, I'd write and write and write until I found myself, like Alice down the rabbit hole, falling deep into my story world. My characters would come to life and begin to act on their own. At times, they'd do and say such incredible things, I'd start to cry or laugh out loud (I'm sure Peter thought I'd gone bonkers.)

This is what author Jonathan Stroud, another of our cheerleaders, said: "Getting that first draft out is a horribly hard grind, but that (perversely) is where the joy of it lies. There is nothing better for me, nothing more uniquely satisfying in the whole process of making a book, the sensation at the end of each day--good or bad, productive or unproductive--when I look over and see a little fragile stack of written pages that weren't there that morning. . . It's where the magic lies. . . We're conjuring something out of nothing."

Conjuring a complete story out of thin air may feel like magic, but actually it's just one way of utilizing the creativity our Creator instilled in each of us. Afterall, He created us in His image, and by His word, He spoke the world into existence! I consider it a profound blessing to be able to use what God has given me to glorify Him.


Through my participation in NaNoWriMo, I learned two crucial lessons that can be applied to all aspects of life, as well as to writing.

1. Set specific daily goals. (For writing, the mark is word count.)

2. Record your progress. (See my bar above?) This record is important because it holds you accountable to your goal, and it encourages you forward.

To everyone who cheered me on--Thank You! It helped a lot. Special thanks to Chris Baty, the man responsible for this month of literary craziness, and also special thanks to my husband, who patiently endured my hogging our computer.

Would I compete in this challenge again? You bet! I think I may even hit that 50K mark next time.


Brenda Susan said...

Wow, that's amazing Lydia! Congratulations! Creating a real story out of nothing but your imagination must be an extremely satisfying accomplishment. You should be very proud.

Amy Deardon said...

I have such a great respect for anyone who attempts NANO. Congratulations!

You know, I've heard talk of a JANO (January) coming up soon...

Anonymous said...

Wow, Lydia! I'm impressed! You don't have much more to go to complete that novel. You go girl.

Deb P.