Write 50,000 words in 30 days? Hah! I truly laughed aloud at the idea. I was still laughing when I signed up for the absurd idea.
NaNoWriMo turned out not to be so crazy after all. In fact, it was one of the most brilliant experiences of my writing life. I ended up with 50,000+ words toward the best thing I had ever written—Manitou the Sky Saga People. *See the end of this post for an exclusive freebie for IBC blog readers only.
That first NaNoWriMo was an immersion into a method of writing that was foreign to me. Write a little. Edit a little. Write a little more. Edit a little more. Magazine articles, TV scripts, short stories, screenplays, even speeches for the mayor—write-a-little-edit-a-little was my writing method … until NaNoWriMo in November 2010.
That technique wouldn’t work for NaNoWriMo—not if I wanted to reach the 1,677 word count each day. I didn’t dare take time to edit. Write and keep writing was the name of the game.
I am was also a linear writer. If I was stuck on a scene, I’d stop until I had the issue resolved. NaNoWriMo didn’t allow time for that either. I pasted an MS Word virtual sticky note at any spot that needed smoothing out on the next draft and then kept moving. Those sticky notes allowed my brain to set the issue aside. Try it if you are stuck.
Now, my old method of write-a-little-edit-a-little isn’t wrong. After all, it led to a screenplay that won $5,000. And my day job employers were always happy with my productivity. However, I found that the result of write-write-write, don’t-stop-until-the-story-is-down to be a better story. The words, characters and plot points poured out. I just let my muse—her name is Ruby—jam, taking the story where she wanted it to go. When the 30 days were over, I had the sparkly bones of my novel.
NaNoWriMo was exhilarating, and exhausting. I put the novel aside for a couple of months to enjoy the holidays with my family and finish a screenplay. When I picked the work up again in February and felt even more excited about the story, I knew I had something pretty fantastic. Not only that, but Ruby roughly plotted three more books in The Sky People Saga (TSPS). NaNoWriMo let her loose. I’m not a scientist, but I’d bet that writing fast shuts down the nitpicky side of my brain, allowing the creative side more freedom. I gave my muse an inch, and she is still dragging me along on her journey.
I loved the results of NaNoWriMo so much that I did the new CampNaNoWriMo in August. That resulted in the bones of Theoi, book two of TSPS. It will be released around the end of December 2011. Absolutely, I’ll be writing-writing-writing book three of the TSPS during NaNoWriMo 2011.
*Exclusive to IBC blog readers, read the novel Lexus wrote during NaNoWriMo 2010 for FREE. Tweet this: @LexusLuke I want to read #ManitouTSPS #YAFantasy http://amzn.to/p9szpy
Then, fill out IBC Manitou TSPS Giveaway with your Twitter handle and email address (will not be shared with anyone) so Lexus can send you a FREE ecopy. This giveaway expires November 30, 2011.