You’re probably wondering if I did in fact, complete that daunting target of 50K this November or if I’m huddled up, away from cyber eyes, crying my heart out because I was an also ran this year as well. (I didn’t win last year.)
Well boy have I got news for you!
The short version: I won!
The long version: I did manage to complete the 50K but that does not mean I finished my book. What 50K accomplished was about two point five thirds of my novel, leaving massive, embarrassing holes in the second spark and ending of it. Simply put, I have a great beginning and middle with notes on a climax and an ending and no idea how the hell I got there!
But fret not beloved blogosphere for I have immerged from this battle a whole lot smarter and yes, my wisdom has grown exponentially this past month.
One of the most important things that I learnt from this experience is that writing, like almost anything, can only be mastered through constant practice. In fact, I doubt there is such a thing as mastering writing. I think you just practice, Mark Twain just practiced, Neil Gaiman just practices and the results that are good enough make history.
And to practice is to write, whenever, however and wherever without saying things like, “Oh, I’m waiting until my muse strikes!” or “I can’t write right now, I’m going through writer’s block!”
It is only if you will keep writing that the story will progress from just an idea to a book. It is only if you keep writing that the story, will be written.
Which brings me to the next thing I learnt from NaNoWriMo this year.
This is with regard to writer’s block.
When I first set out writing, I would leave stories undone after a time and blame that on my inability to generate creative content from that point on. Heck, up to today, of the umpteen projects I started I have only completed two short stories and them, because I had to send them to a competition on a deadline!
The internet and the writing world in general, provided me with a great name for this “condition,” – writer’s block. And I happily embraced it as a lazy creature would welcome their excuses.
But what I have learnt now is that there is no such thing as writer’s block. There is just days when you write literary masterpieces and days you write complete drivel. The solution is to turn this drivel that you have written into literary master pieces by revising and editing and revising and editing…
If you wait for the right sentences to magically present themselves to you in graceful prose and don’t write until then, how will you ever write? The best way to overcome the disastrous sickness that is writer’s block is to prescribe, geddit? preSCRIBE? No? Never mind!
That is probably the best counter argument one can present to those that condescend and scoff at events such as NaNoWriMo, pointing out that a good deal of what is written every November in a feverish frenzy is utter poop!
Pundits quoting Ratatouille.
“Just because anyone can cook, it doesn’t mean everyone should!”
Yes that is true!
Utter poop does get written as people have hardly any time to properly plan out what they are writing and at times these can be transformed into diamonds with a little, or maybe a lot of polishing.
At time though, no amount of polishing will turn poop into anything other than poop. Then you just flush it down the toilet and wave goodbye!
But hey, it wasn’t a complete waste, because that 50K of human excrement was practice.
And every sticky-fingered, self-righteous two year old with a superiority complex knows that practice makes perfect!
So thank you, to the folks at NaNoWriMo, especially to the wonderful tomodachi at NaNoWriMo Japan, for forcing me to write, despite the high probability that it was all a load of poop! 🙂