For the second week in a row, I’ve managed to keep my commitment to write 2,000 words a day for Nation Novel Writing Month. Last week, I decided to break through snags in the writing process by writing out my rough summary inside of prose, just to keep hitting my word counts.
That has proven to be an effective strategy. Many writers get frustrated and give up because they try to write out their prose when they haven’t properly brainstormed the next scene, chapter, etc. By moving into “sketch mode,” I have been able to continue to work out my story, hitting my daily quotas, without letting blocks or frustration get in the way.
But that isn’t a magic cure for the kind of struggles and procrastination that sets in when you write. Writing is hard work. Writing a story is very hard work. I find that trying to work out your story can easily become an excuse not to write.
The goal is to write, plain and simple. It doesn’t have to sparkle at this stage; it just has to exist. Anything “trick” you can use to get it on paper is worth it. Even then, I found myself struggling to really keep moving forward. Even with every trick in the book, committing to writing each day can feel like a massive chore.
But having that little calendar and seeing those gold stars is a great motivator. Making my focus just to get those 2,000 words done has been enough to get over my blocks and frustrations and just write. Hey, compartmentalization is a good thing when it comes to getting work done. I can forget about writing the “perfect” story, even let go of worries about how my “sketch” parts look, as long as my focus is on just hitting my numbers.
Afterward, I can edit, revises, and rewrite to my heart’s content. Then I can shift gears and look for ways to improve the story and prose. But for now, all that matters is putting words on paper.
So, I appreciate NaNoWriMo for helping me see that.