Spending a total of 45 days writing a novel, taught me quite a few things. First, let me give you a little background. I started this project with a co-worker asking if I’d like to get involved. I said yes and he replied “Oh yeah, it starts tomorrow.” So I sat down on that Saturday morning (Dec 22) with no idea of what to write about. What I knew was I had no story and had to write 50,000 words in approx. 30 days. The only other thing I had was a picture I found on the internet. I liked this picture and it stirred something in my mind, gave me images and thoughts. With this, I began to write.
I took the image of this picture and began to think of what I could write about. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to come up with a story without putting much thought into it. It wasn’t long before one event would lead to another and the story would at ties write itself, to a point. One of the more interesting things which happened for me was, when I was writing a scene where my main character was going into town to cause some mischief. As she was leaving, I get the thought to have her pick up a couple of water buckets. At first I was asking questions like ‘What is she going to do with these?’ and I kept asking ‘Where can I use these?’ as I was writing, it was shown to me where to write them in. This was done in a way where it felt natural.
As time went on and the holidays interrupted my writing time, also when it was hard to push out the required amount of words, I found it was too easy to not write. I learned down the road that it is easier to write a few hundred or a thousand words every day than it is to write several thousand in one day towards the end. If you are struggling, change the point of view or the scene and see where it takes you. I found for me, if I can get someone telling a story, I can write all day long. I was also instructed, ‘If stuck, jazz it up or gloss it over’. Throwing in a ninja pirate always helps.
I discovered that a schedule helps to keep you on track for what you wish to accomplish. Yes I started this project out with the intentions of completing it in 31 days, I ended up using 45. I figured that had I begun with an idea of what I wanted to write about and the 31 days didn’t fall around the holidays, I may have completed it in the required time. Although knowing me, I would have probably procrastinated until the last minute and then scrambled to finish. The point is I would finish.
I was asked by the co-worker who invited me to participate in this project if I liked my story. I looked at him and answered.
Actually, that is not completely true. I do like the story or at least the idea of it. I keep thinking to myself that it is only a first draft and as such, it is do for a re-write (or several). I know there are a lot of things in the novel that I want to improve upon or change. Right now, my novel is sitting on my shelf festering, waiting for the re-write. It is my hope that when I do the re-write, it becomes more of the novel I would like it to be. So, do I like my novel, Yes I do.
So now I can say that I have written a novel. Funny, I never heard the trumpets. But if you are interested in doing the same, I encourage you to do so. Just start writing. If you are interested in writing a novel in 30 days, check out www.nanowrimo.org and get busy writing (You don’t even have to wait until November).
My writing tips:
1. You can start from nothing and write a story.
2. 50,000 words are A LOT of words.
3. Trust your instincts. If an idea pops into your head to write something in, put it in and see where it takes you.
4. Writing a novel is hard work.
5. Having a daily schedule and discipline is key. Support groups help also.
6. Just get it on paper.
7. Re-writes are a blessing.
8. If stuck, jazz it up or gloss it over
9. You are only doing this for yourself and nobody else.
10. Enjoy writing. Have fun with it. It doesn’t have to be perfect.