The first week of NaNoWriMo is finished. the target word count as of midnight on November 8th is 13,333 words. This is where many begin to doubt themselves, to give up, or realize that writing isn’t as easy as most people think. In the Facebook NaNo group, there was a few people who suddenly realized they had no plot, no purpose to their story. A few others found gaping holes in their plots. This is why I plot mine out now. The first year I was a total pantser! My story was all over the place. I free wrote whatever came to my mind and my characters were having quite a riotous adventure. Danger and daring do’s – but at 78,000 words I realized that nearly half of it was not essential to the story. In fact that bulk is part of another story in a series.
One week in and most are beginning to feel the strain of writing on a schedule. This is the point where we need some encouragement, a voice of experience, a nudge or stroke to our ego.
My guest today is Stephanie Wideman. I love her spirit. I hope that she will encourage you!
Hi! I’m Stephanie Wideman and I’ve been a Nano Participant for five years now. I finished my first novel in 2009, and this year, I’m finally publishing it. When preparing for Nano, I am a plotter. I must plan everything, and I normally start planning around August. I simply must have all my notes in order, my outline finished, my research completed, etc., before I begin. The years I’ve tried pantsing it, I failed miserably. Barely a page in and I spent the rest of November staring at my screen in despair. Thus, I plot.
Take my upcoming novel, IONA, for instance. I thought it would be easy. It’s just a rewrite of the myth of Eros and Psyche. All the characters were there, the story was there, I barely had to do any research. Right? Wrong. I spent months hunting down every version of the myth possible, poured over maps of Greece (and then set it in space because I got lazy), and read up on Ancient Greek culture. I spent months leading up to November researching my topic so that there was little chance of me stopping in my writing to go, “Wait, would that be realistic”.
When I’m writing for Nano, I actually do my draft in a notebook. Since I work full-time and go to school full-time (yay college), handwriting is the easiest thing for me. I can pull out my notebook between classes, on lunch break, or anytime I have a few minutes. I work basically at 30 minutes to an hour at a time. On my days off, I can work longer and dedicate longer stretches to my craft. I generally lose the world when I write and concentrate on my words. I can’t say how much time I spend on average writing, but my goals is to always finish before Thanksgiving, so I write at least 2,000 words or more a day.
Nano Wrimo has some effect on my life. It obviously eats up some of my time and I have to balance between school and writing. I more often participate in Camp Nano since those months are not as busy for me. If I am lucky, I actually have more of a social life during Nano because I have a better chance to see my friends. During the year, I often get too busy to make it to regular meetings, but since my region has double the meetings during Nano, I have a better chance at making to one a week.
If I could give any tip to aspiring writers preparing for their first Nano Wrimo, it would be this: Don’t despair. There will be a lot of things thrown in your way that will make you want to scream and give up. Don’t! Keep moving forward. Your first draft will suck, you might hit a huge writer’s block, you can’t make it out to writer’s meetings, you miss your friends, life is getting in the way, your teacher just decided to dump a huge project that will take up all of November…we’ve all been there. Even if you don’t hit 50K, don’t give up. Take what you learn this year and apply it to next year. Don’t despair! Persevere!
(Stephanie is the one with more hair)
Author Bio: Stephanie was born to write. At the tender age of seven, she started writing her first books in crayon. And tried selling them door-to-door. That didn’t work out, but she continued on. Next, while attending Y-Camp at the local YMCA, she started writing small five-minute plays. At eleven, she completed a whole play performed by the neighborhood children called, “The Underwater Friends”. There might still be VHS evidence in someone’s attic. After moving to Virginia in 1991, she tried once more to write. It wasn’t until she joined this strange writing event called Nano Wrimo in 2009 did she complete her first manuscript. Her first novel, IONA, the first book in the Space Station Olympus series, comes out in December of 2014. Her second book, VERUCCA VICTORIOUS, is slated to come out late 2015, and KORE, the next book in the Space Station Olympus series, is to come out late 2016. If you would like to see more on her books, stop by her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SLWidemanBooks) or her blog (https://stephaniewritesbooks.wordpress.com). Or, drop an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Write on my friends, write on!