Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mixed Feelings on NaNoWriMo

I have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo. (That’s National Novel Writing Month, for any new writers out there. Write one novel in one month. 50,000 words. About 1,667 words per day for 30 days.)

I tried it once, back in ’08 because friends of mine were doing it (always a great reason to do anything, right?) It seems I had the same mixed feelings back then, too. Writing too quickly, without thinking about it = sloppy, messy, bad/no style, barebones writing. It doesn’t give time to develop the craft of writing.

But now, after a few months of art journaling, I am willing to give it another try. See, with art journaling, you just intuitively move paint, colors, stencils, stamps, collage across a page. You don’t think too much about it – you just do it. It’s fun. It’s relaxing. It’s like a meditation. And as some experienced artists/art journalists say, if you don’t like what you’ve created, just paint over it and start again. There are no mistakes.

I'm going to approach NaNoWriMo like an art journaling page – not going to think too much about, I'm just going to write, I'm going to have fun, I'm going to be relaxed about it. It’ll be like a meditation.

The drafting stage of the writing process, which NaNoWriMo is essentially a month long drafting period, is the hardest part for me. I love prewriting and brainstorming and thinking of story ideas, but drafting is difficult because my thoughts never land on the paper (or computer screen) the way they looked in my head. And that’s discouraging.

But as the visual artists say: you can always paint over it. And that’s where the revision stage of writing comes in. If I don’t like something I wrote, I can “paint” over it: aka delete it, edit it, rewrite it. One rule of NaNoWriMo is no revisions, no editing! Just writing. December is for revision.

 So here I go, November 1. Wish me luck.

 Good luck to all of you other NaNoWriMers out there.

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