Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Only 7 days left in NaNoWriMo - how did that happen so fast? My goal was not to write an entire novel, but rather to write every day. I've written new sections that bring my work-in-progress closer to its conclusion and knitted together previously written sections to make them flow. I've written blogs and a query letter. Last weekend, I reached my secondary goal - I finished the first draft of my novel - and now I find myself wondering what my daily writing should look like.

My sister has written over 50,000 words so far this month, which is pretty impressive. My output has not been as impressive, but like my sister's 50,000 words, my total represents words written when I was tired and I didn't feel like thinking, let alone writing. It represents words written when I would have preferred to have been doing something else, and words written when I couldn't imagine being anywhere except with my characters. It represents words scribbled on a scrap of paper after I got out of bed or the shower, words typed hastily at Starbucks before I went to work, in the allergist's waiting room and in between math problems during my daughter's nightly homework marathon.

This is what writers do. Very few of us write full time - at least very few of the writers I know. We write in between other things, forcing the words onto the page, whether those words number 50 or 50,000. We make ourselves write when we'd rather be curled up reading a book, and we recognize that developing discipline is the only thing that will keep the words from shriveling up and disappearing.

I don't mean to make it sound as though it's something horrible. If it was, we wouldn't stick to it. But we stick to it because writing is something we can't imagine not doing, even when doing it is incredibly laborious.

So in honor of NaNoWriMo, I'm going to celebrate every word this month, because even though I love to write, some days it would be easier to just take a nap. And while I'm at it, I'd like to congratulate my sister and all the other writers out there who passed up their naps and wrestled the muse instead.

Now get writing. We have only 7 more days!

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