Ah Ah! It’s that time of the year again!
Do you know the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short? If you always wanted to write a book, fiction or not, maybe you should. This challenge is based on the crazy assumption that one can write 50 000 words in the month of November – that’s 1667 words a day, every day, for 30 days.
I have participated in NaNoWriMo 5 times in the last 7 years. It is no small feat. I failed many times, miserably. But it got me going. It got me started on the truly humbling path of writing and exploring my inner stories, which are – I won’t lie – the things I value the most about myself. Synchronically, this year the writing marathon falls on the Moon of Value.
It also showed me that I have a serious lack of discipline. More often than not, when I get my ass to sit in front of my screen, I just write, write, write. I rarely suffer from the writer’s block (not to jinx it…) I have a lot of ideas and I just love to see worlds arise and characters being born at my finger tips. What I lack is actual will power, I mean, these worlds, characters and stories live inside me, I don’t reeeeeeeeeally need to put them on paper… right? I’m very good at convincing myself that they are only valuable to myself.
My boyfriend shared with me the technique that got him to discipline himself in his meditation and pranayama practices, an you can apply it to whatever you need to do. The trick is to do it everyday, no matter what, no matter how little. It doesn’t matter if you are kicking and crying, you have to make that beast called Inertia bend the knee. You can’t give in to the weakest part of yourself, aka, my ongoing life project.
So here is this year’s plan. My objective is to write everyday at least 20 minutes. 500 words is okay, 1667 word is fantastic. (I also decided to ask my BF to change my Netflix password for the month.)
I will keep on writing last year’s story. I have worked on it since summer, sporadically. So it is well advanced and I know where I am going with the outline. I have developed a really cool technique that works for me to write chapters:
- Find out what this chapter is about and the direction that it is going in, for the general story.
- First scene is presenting the “problem”, middle scene is working through the resistances, last scene is how you resolve the problem or a path towards the solution, or towards a bigger problem… lol.
- In each scene, I write what I want to happen by the end of it. I bullet point every action that should happen. Then, I bullet point every key sentences or elements.
- I write following the outline. But then the miracle of writing happens and I get the coolest ideas, details and side story appear out of thin air.
- I got a chapter and about a thousand millions of questions for the next one.
No bad uh? But then again, you do whatever you have to do in order to write, hypnotize yourself with music, drink wine, cry uncontrollably, stop going to work, reward yourself with poutine until you pop, but just write.
In our modern life, we have the choice. We take time for granted. We have so many ways to drive us away from our boredom and our meaninglessness that we see things like “writing a book” as hard. We should consider it a privilege, a way towards self-discovery, towards touching our REAL limitations and shredding down the one we THINK we have.
Just write the damn book!