Monday, December 1, 2008

Lessons from NaNoville

On Thursday night, I reached an official total of 50,279 words. Yay! Thank you thank you thank you to all of you who supported me this month. You are the wind beneath my wings! I would have given up a long time ago without your constant encouragement, prayers, e-mails, and face book encounters.
So, what did I learn? Well, first of all it's nice to say that now I've actually done everything I tell you guys to do on a constant basis. Write. When it sounds stupid, write. When it doesn't make any sense, write.
I had some moments where the words just flowed and they actually made sense when placed beside one another. Other times, there was no flow, just a barrage of seemingly disjointed thoughts that may, in the most abstract sense, go together if the planets are aligned exactly right.
If you stop when your writing feels like you're walking up hill in the snow with no shoes, then you will never crest that hill and enjoy the times when writing is like sled riding down the hill. Every time you start, you'll still be at the bottom of the hill.
At the very end, once I had reached my epilogue and I still had over 2,000 words to write, I just started making things up - telling stories that were very verbose and didn't really belong there. I decided to give up on my entire plot and just write to get the last words in. Guess what happened? The very last sentence of my crappy epilogue is one of my favorite sentences. I think it's going to be the first sentence of the book. So, Natalie Goldberg is right when she says to burn through first thoughts to get to the good stuff. If I had given up or waited until I had something fabulous to say, I never would have discovered the gem that is the last sentence.
I didn't know what was deep down inside of my mind until I got rid of the shallow stuff on the top. If there is a story living inside you, sit down and start writing. Give yourself fully to the story and it will write itself. Your characters will lead the way - they are waiting to amaze you with the adventures in their lives.
If the Lord has called you to write, what are you waiting for? He will equip you, but you have to take the fist step in faith. Set goals, sit down, and write.
Do you have any writing ah-ha moments that you would like to share? Any tips for what to do when the going gets tough?