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I’m back after missing a few Tuesday posts. My competitive side came out while I tried to prove to myself I could succeed at this contest. On Sunday, I pasted into the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) site what is to be my next book. I modestly put 51,900 words in my word estimate updater. The validater totaled 52,028 words. That puts me well over the 50,000 I needed. According to the site that makes me a winner along with most of the 36,000 plus other contestants.

Last year, I entered and didn’t have half the words I needed by the end of November. However, that contest was a good learning experience to prepare me for this year. I learned from the 2009 entry what I needed to do to compete in this contest and make it to the finish line. For one thing, I have been too used to going over what I’ve written to correct the first time around as I go. Over the years, I’ve entered many writing contests. All the elements that go into a story has to be perfect in order to place. So last time, I didn’t pay attention to the fact the contest information states that the book can be poorly written and should be to get done by the end of the month. How sloppy the sentence structure or how poor the details are doesn’t matter. That can be taken care of after the contest. All right so this time I got it.

Stick-to-itness and watching the words add up are a must. I checked after each writing session to see how many words I’d written. A writer has to average close to 12,000 or over a week to be able to finish a winner. When I hadn’t made that goal by the end of a week, I knew I had to buckle down and continue until I had the amount of words I needed. Then I could stop, rest and get ready to start over the next day. So what if I wasn’t at my brightest when I slaved away at the keyboard, trying to make the 12,000 words a week. All I had to do was keep in mind that I was allowed to be a sloppy writer on this contest entry. No one was going to hold it against me.

I excused last year that I had too many interruptions in November to write. I found this November wasn’t any different. The key is I was prepared for the interruptions and didn’t let those distractions stop me from working when I was home. That meant cutting down to the minimal amount of distractions. For instance, I really did need to go grocery shopping or keep a dental appointment. One cut was not making blog posts most of the month. Writing a post doesn’t take me long, but my dial up Internet connection is slow. It takes a morning and sometimes a day to download the post on my various blogs. While I was writing I kept away from the telephone as much as possible. Time to chat is now that I’m done with the contest.

Turns out, I have done much the same sort of writing with all my other books. I just didn’t think about the time it took to get to the finished version. For one thing, I don’t have a deadline so the days melt into months while I work on a story and rework it and eventually the book is done. I like it that way, but this contest was an incentive to keep working.

NaNoWriMo is certainly a way to motivate authors as long as they have a basic outline or plan in their head for the story. That means start giving some thought to what you want to write about in October. Once the contest starts, there isn’t any time to have writer’s block. The great thing about this contest is whether I got to the 50,000 word finish line or not, I could considered the process a great writing exercise and a portion of a book started.

Now comes the real work. I’ve got to edit the entry, rewrite and delete many words in the sloppy sentence structures. Wouldn’t be surprised if I chop out half of the entry, but that’s all right. The basic story is still there and one of these days I’ll have a book completed.

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Comment by Donna Marie Williams on December 1, 2010 at 10:49am
Congratulations! Quite an accomplishment! Maybe I'll try it next year.

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