Back in November I participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for those who are too busy for all those extra syllables. After I hit 50,000 words and got myself certified as a ‘winner,’ I dutifully printed out the month’s work and tucked it away. The plan was to get some rest and some perspective, and return to it in January. I even made up a schedule with milestones and deadlines and everything.
Are you familiar with that Douglas Adams quote about deadlines?
I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
It’s been a little bit like that around here. So around March 21, I decided that there was nothing for it but to take on way more than I could possibly accomplish, and by the end of the month I had signed up for not one but two big April challenges.
And here we are. April 11 and I haven’t collapsed in a heap yet. For my money, that’s a win. Not only have I successfully shared an alphabetically-appropriate blog post every day (except Sunday, because even people who bite off more than they can chew get a day off) but I have also started to make a real dent in the unfinished work that I began in November. And over the course of the last six or so months, I have also gained some valuable insights, including:
- All of the preparation I did before starting these projects got me ready, but it didn’t actually prepare me. Schedules and outlines are great, but everything changed once I started actually writing. On the other hand, if I hadn’t done the prep work, I would really be up the creek. It’s weird.
- Writing 2000 words a day is both harder and easier than I expected. The first 500 or so words are the hardest. The last 500 words go pretty fast. At 2000 words, I am exhausted and need a nap.
- I am, suddenly, a terrible judge of my own writing. Other folks say things like ‘This scene I am working on is so boring’ or ‘My main character isn’t acting right’ and all I can think is ‘How can you tell?’ This is not usually the case when I write, but then, I don’t usually write the way I am writing right now.
- There is an abundance of good writing/blogging advice and encouragement available online. More appears all the time. A person could spend hours every day reading it, but then when would they actually write? Getting caught up on reading it all is a permanent fixture on my to-do list.
- Poetry! Who knew? Probably the biggest and most pleasant surprise for me so far this month is how big a part poetry has played – sharing my own, and sharing and exploring the work of others. If you had asked me about poetry back in February, I would probably have said that I don’t really think about it much. Turns out that I do, though, and I have a lot of favorites that I want to share.
Has April brought you any interesting insights?
(Photo of vintage typewriter advertisement – with performance guarantee! – by Don O’Brien at Flickr.)
(Posted today as my Day 9 entry in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge)