THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
The Secret to Winning NaNoWriMo
I've been sitting staring at a blank page for too long. Why is it blank? Well, honestly, it's not exactly blank. It's stuck at about 4000 words. It's a decent amount of text, about a quarter to a third of what I want on this particular project, but it's not enough. Worse, I wrote the last thousand of those words about a week ago, which means I haven't written squat in a week.
Why am I worried?
One word: NaNoWriMo. Yes, I'm cheating, it's actually four words. National Novel Writing Month. Celebrated annually during November, National Novel Writing Month (cheerfully referred to as Nano by many participants) is an opportunity to let loose and write with wild abandon. It's a chance to jump start a project, or finish one. At its best, it's a finished draft in a month, packed with all the support you need.
It means writing 1667 words a day. Every day. For a month.
Normally this wouldn't phase me very much, but right now I've spent most of a weekend staring at 4000 words that it took me all of October to write. That doesn't bode well for mass production of words and, as it is often said, writing with reckless abandon.
For those of you who may be counting and trying to break down that figure, a typed, double-spaced page runs between 200 and 250 words, so 1667 words is about 8-10 manuscript pages a day. It's a formidable pace. To participate in NaNoWriMo, you commit to that pace for 30 days. You win by hitting 50,000 words. This is not impossible. Thousands of people win each year, and some will have crossed the line mere days after starting. Some brave (insane) people write one million words during November. I am not one of those.
Years of participation have taught me that it's not just possible, but possible for me. In the eleven years that I've participated, I have won every year, even when fighting the loss of my pug Piggy last year. I should not be worried. I have entered Nano with no idea what to write about before. I have interrupted works in progress before. But normally I'm excited.
Normally I am so excited. Even when I don't have ideas. The thought of immersing myself in my characters for a month is just heaven. Yes, even my cranky angsty characters.
I have one more day to recapture that excitement. And then on Tuesday I'll start writing, somehow. Whether it will be on Cian Beloved, the next of the College Rose Romances, or on Cold as Ice, the first of my planned superhero stories, I don't know. But I will write something. And I'll win.
How do I know?
I have the secret. The secret to Nano is the same as the secret to being an author. Put your butt in the chair. Glue it there if you have to. And write. Can't? Write about not being able to write. Rage against it. Eventually, paradoxically, it will start to make sense. You'll start writing something.
And I will.
What about my work in progress? Well. I'm going to try to finish that too if I can. Subscribers will know I've been working on American Pride, a story intended as a thank you for subscribing to the newsletter. It's a heart wrenching story and maybe I have a little too much hurt right now and that's what's making that hard.
In the meantime, let me know if there's a character you want to know more about. Curious about boy-in-a-dress from Andrew's Prayer? Sure that I have to follow up on Pete from Gerry's Lion? Does Niko from The Byte of Betrayal need a follow up? Do you have a burning desire for me to skip past ice and write my storm superhero story instead?
Let me know in the comments!
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Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.