The first week of NaNoWriMo is over and so far it has been going pretty well for me. I’ll be at 16,000 words by the end of the day, which puts me about 2,600 words ahead. Not a bad start, if I do say so myself. The downside? I think I only like about 1,000 of those words.
Chris Baty says it over and over again: it’s about quantity, not quality. If you’re a writer, you know what a load of crap that is. Sure, we want to write a lot of words but I don’t know any writer who is okay with thinking all of those words suck. We all want to think we’re amazing, not washed-out could have beens.
As much as I want to erase it all and start over, I’m moving forward. That’s the great thing about NaNo–it forces you to get over yourself and all your neurosis (and we’re writers, we have a lot of neurosis). For all that effort, I actually did write a scene that I was really proud of today. I’m sure it’s not perfect yet but I think it has a ton of potential. With any luck, I’m hoping this will be the turning point in my story. See, I’m trying to stay positive!
While I’ve seen some people on the NaNo site who have already won (showoffs!), I’ve also noticed a number of people who have yet to start. If you’re one them, don’t be discouraged! I know it’s intimidating to put that first word on a blank document. Getting started is the hardest part. It might be even harder now that you’ve seen so many blue bars moving forward. How are you ever going to catch up? Or maybe you still have no idea what you want to write. Whatever your reason, don’t give up! We’re only a week in so you still have three whole weeks to write. You don’t have to hit 50,000 words. If you write 500 words, 1,000 words, even 25,000 words, that still puts you 500, 1,000 or 25,000 words further into your story than you were before and that’s the true heart of NaNoWrimo–making any amount of progress.
So you’re still not sure about your first word? “The.” Start there. Write it on your blank document, go to your NaNoWriMo account and log that baby. You’ve started your novel! Now it’s only a few keystrokes to the second word and then the third and then you’ll get so caught up in your story and your characters that 1,000 words will fly by in the blink of an eye. And don’t worry about how good those words are (I know, I know) because there will be time for rewriting later.
Now get back to writing! (That’s for me, not for you. Although, you probably should too…)