Hello, dear readers, and welcome!
Today I have for you the third, and next to last, post in my "NaNoWriMo Prepping" series, to get you ready for this year's NaNo. Enjoy!
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There remains a little over a week, as of this writing, until November officially starts, and there is still time to plan, but...when do we reach the end of our planning stage, and the beginning of our writing stage?
The most obvious answer, at least when it comes to NaNo, is November 1st, but in the "normal" world of writing, there really is never a set date. You can plan the entirety of your novel out (though I can guarantee you that it will change direction on you almost every time), you can draw up character sketches, draw out your world (if you're working in another one), and that is great, but somewhere along the line we have to sit down and actually begin writing, or the story will never start, and therefore never end.
It's easy to feel as though we will "mess the story up", or as though we aren't ready to begin writing. We might think we merely need some more planning -- and we might -- or we need to find new names for our characters -- and we might -- but eventually we have to stop planning, stop dreaming, and actually sit down and write. Something never started is something never finished.
Don't be fooled: writing is the hardest part of, well, being a writer. Revision can be difficult, but at least you have something to work with, and compared to actually putting words to paper, planning is not that difficult. Writing is where the hardship comes in, but writing the actual material is also the heart of being a writer, because without that first draft, wonderful or terrible, you would never have a second, third, fourth, so on and so forth draft to work with.
"You can't edit what you haven't written." This is the motto for my NaNo region, and it's true -- without words, you can't edit.
But that doesn't mean we have to be afraid of those words, or feel like we are going to "mess up" our story. It's your story, writer, and therefore if you're happy with it, you can't really mess it up. Will that mean it will need revision after the first draft is done? Most certainly! I heavily believe in, and enjoy, the revision process, but before we can get to fine-tuning our story, we must first have a story.
One of the things I like about NaNo is the fact that, because you have a time limit (and a somewhat crazy one, at that, though entirely doable), you really don't have time to doubt yourself. I've mentioned this before, but it fits well here. When NaNo begins, we can no longer hide behind plans or fears, because it will be time to write -- because we only have thirty days -- and that's part of the fun of it. This is a practice to get you in the habit of writing daily, whether you end up writing 1,667 words every day after NaNo or not (most writers don't, at least the ones I know).
You may be a young writer, or an old writer, or maybe you're just going to try NaNo and see if you can do it. You may end up loving or hating writing; you may end up writing more books, or never writing one again. Whatever the case, when November rolls around, remember that it's time to start writing, and don't be afraid to delve right in.