Today, I’m handing over the blog to A.K. Flynn as part of her blog tour. Like my own recent blog tour, it was set up with the help of all the fine people in Literary+
As someone who has won NaNoWriMo twice, I know just how much of a challenge and how rewarding it can be. It’s quite the battle, but for those brave enough to attempt it, there’s a lot of on-the-job training to be had with it.
Now, I’ll let A.K. take the stage…
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which starts every November 1 st and ends at November 30th at 11:59:59pm (Yes it’s that specific, because every second counts) It is 30 days of literary abandonment which means no editing, no proof reading and no notion of how much coffee you have consumed. You must complete a 50,000 word novella by that time (1,666 words a day) in order to win this competition and to officially call yourself insane. Seems easy enough, until you factor in life challenges such as school, college, work, perhaps children, life’s unexpected surprizes, (I have written two novels while combatting a flu) and of course the elusive writer’s block.
One of the biggest things that I have learned from NaNoWriMo is how to use my time wisely, as well as how to plan for the unexpected, as life will throw some curve balls. I also realized that NaNoWriMo is not only about the writing, or reaching a goal. The social groups in your region provides a welcoming environment where you have support for writing, but you also make lifelong friends with many quirky attributes that you can’t help but want to be a part of. There are so many benefits to being a part of your regions write-ins, as they help you procrastinate, (it’s a very important part of writing)do word wars, and provide encouraging words when you feel like you fell too far behind and won’t make it. I also learned more about the area I live in and about the hidden gem cafés that I frequent now.
With that said written, it’s on to what’s the point of doing this feat of over caffeinated, nonsensical draft of a so called “novel”? Well there are many reasons to want to do this ludicrous task, but I will first focus on why you wouldn’t want to. Writing for NaNoWriMo only exposes the minimal requirements for writing a novel, which is the draft; it does not encompass the effort or quality that many published and indie publishers put forth into their oeuvre. Many writers alike argue that in a NaNo novel quality doesn’t matter, it’s all about quantity, lower expectations, and that these things should never apply to writing. Also they claim that not everyone can be a writer, despite what the website claims. In many ways some of the reasons are true, but it really depends on the intent and perspective of each individual.
Furthermore, if you do not achieve the goal of 50,000 words your project will just sit around, while you dwell with thoughts of shame; why couldn’t I have been more disciplined, why did I take that break, or even I could have worked through it and sleep in December! And then last but not least the main reason for not doing NaNoWriMo; if you think you’re going to sit down and turn out a masterpiece in 30 days that gets you on the Amazon bestseller list, stop. Do us all a favor and save the world from your brilliant idea that doesn’t need revision because it came to you in a fit of inspiration. It’s not brilliant; it’s crap. Your draft will not be fit for publishing for over a year and not without multiple re-edits. So do not send your draft at the beginning of December thinking your zombie unicorn spy novel is absolutely unique and amazing, and that any publisher would be ecstatic to have it. There have been success stories of individuals who have had their novel published; so it is possible if done correctly.
Now onto the reasons why you should write NaNoWriMo, read carefully. At the end of the day (or month), you’ll have a novel. That you wrote. Nothing else should matter. You will have written a novel. How many other people can say that? At the very least, you will be at least 50,000 words ahead of where you would be if you hadn’t sat yourself down and written it. NaNoWriMo, flaws and all, helps you learn to not be so critical about punctuation, or editing in the moment It also teaches a writer exactly how hard it can be to work on a deadline, to prioritize craft and story, to force time for writing in a schedule that’s full of college assignments, past-due bills, full-time employment, and other everyday obligations.
NaNoWriMo in a nutshell forces you to fearlessly create your work because of the time limit. There’s no time to fear that your writing sucks, or that you don’t have talent, or that you’re making dozens of errors and typos, or that you’re even making any sense. You just have to ignore all of it in order to get through the month and meet the goal of 50,000 words (which equals out to about 200 typed pages). There is no editing allowed; there’s just no time or opportunity for it. Just do it and keep going until you reach that finish line.
Now, where else can we use this energy? Where else can we benefit from pushing aside our inner critic and self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-editing? Everywhere!!! Just take it one step, area, desire, or situation at a time. Have you wanted to go out dancing but think your one-year old has more rhythm than you do? So what, go dancing anyway! Are you at an office party where there’s a karaoke machine but you’re afraid of being the center of attention? So what, sing anyway!
We live in our heads too much, and not enough from our hearts. Quiet your mind, your thoughts, and your fears. You might be wrong or you might be right but none of it matters if you don’t do something about your desires or dreams and give it a try. Create the life and experiences you’ve always wanted but didn’t because of a fear you have or because you had a negative past experience. Create what you want instead of being stuck on what you think you don’t have: the time, the looks, the education, the experience, the talent, the money, the spouse, the job, the energy. Ignore it all and jump into fearless creation.
And even if you don’t “win” by completing 50,000 words, you still have what you wrote. You still have the 10, 20, or 30,000 you wrote. You still have the experience of creating something and telling the story you
want need to tell.
In my world “A procrastinator’s work is never done!”
Beginning of the month and mid-way through the month enactment!
Salutations! My Name is A.K. Flynn, I’m a 27 year old bright eyed bushy tailed Child and Youth Worker to be, who is very ambitious and absolutely in love with writing all sorts mind perplexing Fiction. I also tend to pour my emotions out on the screen as it is the only thing that keeps my hectic life sane. As of right now my website and second novel seems to be a major focus and writing is my major outlet so it all pans out perfectly. Oh did I mention I was a redhead? Well now you know! So you know my writing has got to be good, because redheads are very spontaneous… (runs off into the distance babbling to herself)
About Lucid Dreams:
In dreams we are anyone we want to be, they are our escapes, our hopes and our will to thrive. Dreams are a pathway from one proverbial world to another; a safe little realm where we can explore and not be harmed, or so we thought… Ishya is a dreamer that suffers from insomnia, she finds herself questioning if her visions are real, or simply a lucid dream of which she controls. She slowly drives herself to the breaking point, and believes her sanity has truly left her. She uncovers the puzzling pieces that help her come back to the real world, but is it a dream or is it real? The lucid dream state is a rift not easily found, but once the gateways are open, a vivid dream is no longer a dream…