Monday, December 2, 2013

When You Become a Loser

I did not win NaNo this year. 

But, I wrote about 7,000 words in two weeks, which is something I've never done before! My grandparents came and visited for a week and a half. Thanksgiving was amazing (and I was full for days after...).

I had a great month full of family and friends and food

Wish I had these dwarves to help with the dishes afterword though.

Sure, I only wrote the first two weeks of November.

Yes, I was too lazy.

Correct, I did choose Doctor Who over my laptop many nights.

But no, I am not a NaNo loser. Neither are you.

I wanted to give a little pep talk to all of us who didn't reach our goals. First off, YOU ARE NOT A LOSER. You may feel discouraged and down and keep saying things in your head like "Maybe I'm not a writer after all...I guess this isn't something I'm good at." Guess what? No writer in the history of writing ever felt good about a novel they tried to write in 30 days. The point of NaNo isn't to write a magnificent novel ready to be sent to the publishers; the point is to WRITE. To put as many words to paper (or screen) as you can, as fast as you can. It's basically a race of sorts, except all who participate are considered winners.

Now, I know that pang you felt in your heart when you saw how many of your writing buddies had the purple banner next to their names pronouncing them a WINNER! I know, because that's what I felt.

As the 30th drew closer and closer I began to realize how undedicated (<--spell-check insists that's not a word) I was to my writing. Here are some tips I made to help prepare myself for next NaNoWriMo.

1. Take typing lessons. Seriously, this is a skill necessary for achieving your word count goal. If you sit down for an hour and only get 500 words on the page, you are going to have a rough month. 

2. Make October your plotting month. Character profiles, inspirational quotes, outlining, etc. etc.: get it done! I jumped into NaNo with just a basic idea and a main character. <---major downfall.

3. Write all throughout the year. Poems, short stories, novels: whatever.  Just make sure that November isn't the only month you set writing goals. By doing this, you'll prepare yourself for the intense pressure of NaNo. 

4. Read. If you're a writer, there's a pretty big probability you enjoy reading. Reading lots of books from many different genres is great and all, but in order to expand your talents as a writer you need to read:

a) books in the same genre that you're writing.
This way, you submerge yourself into the type of world you wish to put on paper.

b) your favorite books. 
The books that make you cry and laugh. The characters that live close to your heart. This is the type of magic you want people to remember in your writing. 

5. Don't worry. Every new experience as writer will grow you in ways you wouldn't imagine. Even if...wait for it...THAT EXPERIENCE IS NOT PHYSICALLY WRITING. Those days where you go to the park with you siblings, when you think you should be home writing. The nights your mom, dad, and brother stay up later than the younger children to watch TV and eat secret ice cream...and you decide to join them. When you wake up in the morning exhausted and hit the snooze button to sleep for an extra hour...or three. Every happening in your every day life is growing you into a better writer. Writers pour out their emotions, thoughts, dreams, pasts, and stories into their writing. 

Without such experiences books would be bland, poems probably would cease to exist, and the world wouldn't have as many people sharing the same desire to WRITE. The same yearning in their hearts to have the characters living inside their heads to be loved by others.

Every writer is different. Some are outliners, some are more of the dreamer type, some have huge vocabularies, and some can develop amazing characters better than others. We all have our talents, even if we haven't officially discovered them yet. Keep writing, my friends. Do not let go of your dream and passion just because "Well, I didn't win NaNo so I must not be a writer". 


Great things, you will do.


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