How NaNoWriMo Taught Me To Write A Novel Fifteen Minutes At A Time
by Laurie Brantley
I've been writing since my childhood. As I entered my empty nest years, I realized that life now affords me the opportunity to write as much as I want.
Frustrated with my writing skills, I decided that this year I would participate in NaNoWriMo. Not really knowing exactly what to expect or how to prepare, with anticipation I created a few character sketches and made an outline, realizing that this must be too easy. I just knew there had to be more preparation, but I wasn't sure just what.
I've never enjoyed writing fiction, which is a requirement of the NaNoWriMo event. The reason I decided to try it was more for the exercise of fiction writing. So, I wasn't very concerned about my preparation, or should I say, my lack of preparation – a recent discovery. I thought I'd try it, see what it's like, and if I enjoyed it. If it turned out to be a purely dreadful event, I could always quit. Nothing would be lost.
With excitement and anticipation, November first, I turned on the computer, pulled up my outline, opened a blank page and began to write. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I realized that I was having fun – and I was writing fiction! I kept writing and realized I'd been writing without reference to my outline. So, I stopped for a minute, checked the outline and saw I was way off base. Now, what? My story had changed and I couldn't think of how to get myself on track. Finally, after several chapters and several thousand words, I got myself back to where I needed to be.
Although I'm having a great time of writing and inventing characters and places and events and being in control of a whole other world, I have some physical battles that limit my writing. I'm unable to sit for long periods of time and I have this little pinched nerve in the back of my neck that likes to keep me from sitting at a keyboard for too long. If I'm there too long, my shoulders cry in pain for me to give up, my arms and fingers rebel in numbness.
I am, however, determined to write a full fiction novel this November and win NaNoWriMo. I set a timer for fifteen minutes and write. When it goes off, I do some stretches and take a writing break by getting some chores done. After doing this about three or four times a day, I meet my daily NaNoWriMo goals.
And I'm learning so much. So far, I've learned I could've used a more detailed outline, that if I get off track, I can always get back on it again, that writing fiction really can be fun and that I can write a novel fifteen minutes at a time.
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http://fifteenminutesofwriting.blogspot.com/ or her non-fiction blog at http://lauriebrantley.blogspot.com/ .