To write a 50,000 word novel in a month is a daunting task. I may be crazy, but this is the third year I've done it and I love the process.
In order to make it successfully over the finish line, I've found that you must move forward in your writing at all times. There's absolutely no time for revision--no time for even correcting spelling errors -- as you go along. As they say at NaNoWriMo headquarters, November is for writing. December and beyond are for editing.
So, I follow their advice and put one word after another after another, and I don't look back. In December, when the clock stops ticking, hopefully, I'll have 50,000 or more words. Then I can take all the time I want to go back and do the research to back up what I've written and to edit in an attempt to straighten out the mess my 50,000 words have become by the end of the month.
Anyway, I chose this as a topic for today's blog because I want to share with you how freeing this process is. It's just a joy to not worry about spelling, structure, or any of those maddening details that I agonize over on a daily basis. No, to make it to 50,000 words, I just slap those words down as fast as I can and I enjoy every minute of it.
I'm not sure of the tangible rewards of this process to my writing, but I do know that it usually gives me a new zest for writing -- it recharges my batteries. If you promise to not look back at what you've written and only move forward, you have a month free from slapping yourself for using the wrong verb tense, for telling instead of showing, or for not giving each character an individual voice, etc. What a great experience it is to "let it all hang out."
It's too late to join the NaNoWriMo group for this year (I mean you could, but 50,000 words in a week is a stretch), but I'll remind you next year to give it a try. Or, try it as a regular exercise throughout the year. You might get hooked on this free-form writing. I am.
And, don't think for a minute that nothing ever comes of all this writing. The Zen of Max will be out in January or February 2010. It's a revision of my 50,000 words from NaNoWriMo in 2008.
To visit the site where all of this originates, go to http://nanowrimo.org.