A week from Friday I will be starting my next NaNoWriMo novel. The official NaNoWriMo happens in November, but I do it with a group of friends in July, which is generally a less hectic month especially for people who are in school. Plus, in July we get one more day. I have attempted this each of the past five years and succeeded each of the past three years.
I have my doubts about finishing the goal of 50000 words in 31 days this year. I have very little inspiration or plans for this year and haven’t had any interesting dreams recently like I had to help me last year, but that isn’t the reason why. It’s more a combination of working usual hours at my job and being out of town for a week of the time. But I’ll give it a try and see what happens anyway.
I see this as an excersize to practice writing a lot of wordage whether I feel like it at the time or not. It’s good for knocking out the inner critic, practicing working under pressure, and generating ideas which can be turned into better written stories later. I’m always surprised at how much I like the stories at the end of the month despite how carelessly they were written. My two novels that I’ve been working on this past year both started as July NaNoWriMo novels, but when they start this way, they need even more rewriting and revising than the average first draft.
Something I’ve done every year is try to write down every single random weird idea that strikes me through the month of July and the week before it. Then whenever I can’t think what to write next, I pull out some of those and stick them in there somehow. After all, the goal isn’t to write something good. If I want to rewrite it into something good later, that’s always possible, even if it’s really terrible writing the first time around. After all, even God started out with a first draft that was “without form and void” (Gen 1:2).