As NaNoWriMo kicks into gear, Anne Lamott offers some inspiration.
The start is the thing. The blank page. The “what will I say?”, “how will I start?”, “who am I to try?”, “write a book – what was I thinking!?” … Insert your own Debbie Downer statements that poke their way into your creative genius, preventing anything from getting on the page.
NaNoWriMo is a monster of a challenge and not to be taken lightly. The premise is to write 50,000 words as a first draft in 30 days. It happens every November. And die-hards love it as a way to commit and write.
NaNo asks you to prepare yourself in October by quashing any reasons that will stand in your way of dedicating time to your writing. Why wait ’til October? You can do these things now to focus on your writing.
- Get healthy food and snacks ready
- Have your beverage of choice on tap
- Work out where you will write
- Decide when can squeeze writing time into your overloaded schedule
- Make some notes about what you’ll write – as brief or as full an outline as you can bear
- Calculate a word count target for your sessions (50,00/30=1667 a day)
- Apologise early for unintended crabbiness
- Let everyone know you’re dedicated to writing big-time ie get a do-not-disturb sign;
Anne Lamott exhorts us to stop putting off writing as an unattainable dream we’ll do one day or as soon as …. Write as is. In other words, fit writing into your life as it is now. Don’t wait for that magical time when you have time. Make time. Read her full piece here.
NaNoWriMo aims for 50,000 but you can set your own target. Try 10,000 words over the month. Maybe 5000. The trick is to get going. Once you do, you may be surprised how easily the words flow. Start now and by NaNoWriMo you’ll easily do 50k in a dedicated month.
Get your ideas, thoughts, sentences on paper. Tidy them up later when you’ve exhausted your memory, imagination and brain and can then step into logic mode.
Just get the words down.
Don’t die with your book still in you.
Anne Lamott is the author of Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life, one of the essential craft books to have in your collection. She has written both fiction and non-fiction. Watch her interview on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKX5HXY0MGA for ideas and insights on this engaged writer.