NaNoWriMo: Year 3

Alright guys, it’s almost that time again. November is fast approaching, like a cheetah hunting its prey. We are the prey and time is the cheetah. You cannot outrun time, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try. Before you know it though, that cheetah is going to spring right up and grab you by the hindquarters like your a nice big juicy burger from your favorite burger joint. When that happens it’s all over. Woah! Calm down! I don’t mean you’re gonna die! No, it’s just time to get wrapped up in yet another year of National Novel Writing Month.

This will be my third year fighting with the beast of NaNoWriMo. The first year I barely missed the mark of 50k with 47,326 words. (I finally finished the first draft of this novel earlier this year). The second year I didn’t even come close, but that was more because of what was happening in my life at the time. This year, I plan to do NaNoWriMo again, but unlike before I am not aiming to win. I am simply aiming to write and write everyday.

I know that you don’t really care how well I’ve done at NaNoWriMo or what I plan to do about it, but if there’s one thing you need to learn as a writer, it’s to write every day without fail. What you write doesn’t have to be good. No, it can be horrible. In fact I encourage you to write horribly. Writers should not be afraid of writing badly. No matter how bad you write, it can be fixed. The point is that you wrote something.

Writing everyday was not something that I used to do before starting NaNoWriMo and it is something that I have been struggling with since. Even as I sit here typing away at this blog post, I haven’t written  anything on any novel in three days. But as a writer, I can’t live like that. Writers live because they write. Funny ain’t it?

If a writer doesn’t write then he isn’t a writer, he’s simply a man pretending to be something he isn’t. Sure he may have stories swimming in his head and characters speaking to him and themes waiting to be explored, but that doesn’t mean anything if he isn’t writing.

I realize that there are a million other blogs out there about writing and giving advice in a million different ways, but do you know the one piece of advice that remains the same in each and every one of them? SIT DOWN AND WRITE! Yep, that’s it. Easy as that. If you don’t listen to any other piece of writing advice, listen to that one. Get your but in a chair and start typing away, or if you prefer, grab a pencil and a notebook. Whatever your method is, just write. Do it every day. Make it a ritual.

The biggest excuse we give about why we don’t write is that we simply don’t have the time. You know what I say to that: Bull. There are 24 hours in a day. Sure we spend roughly 8 of them sleeping (or if your like me you spend about 6 asleep). That leaves roughly 16 hours left in the day. Take away another 8 for day jobs and your left with 8 hours of free time in a day. You have a family and a social life and errands to run. I get it. I have all of those things.

What do you do when you finally get home from a day of work and running errands? Well, if you’re like most people, and I’m assuming you are, you sit down on the couch and watch something on TV. That time right there, that your spending watching TV? THAT”S YOUR WRITING TIME! I know, I know, The Walking Dead is on and you just have to know if Glenn is really dead. Do you have to know right at that instant? No. DVR the show and sit down and write. Watch The Walking Dead after you’ve pumped out a few hundred words.

You don’t want to cut into your TV time with writing? Fine, the hours you spend on FaceBook are excellent hours you could be writing. I know that you have to know about dating rituals your friends are using or clothes they’re wearing or make-up tips or what they ate for dinner or when they went to the gym, but do you really care? Do you ever actually talk to the people that are your friends on Facebook? I mean aside from the occasional message on Facebook. Do you talk to them on the phone? Do you see them in real life? Do you go out to eat with them? No? Then they aren’t your real friends. They’re just people you knew once upon a time. You can keep up with what they are doing later. Sit. Write. Ignore the digs of new messages.

You don’t want to cut into your Facebook time either? Well then, who needs 8 hours of sleep? Make it 7 or 6. You’ll be okay. Oh, you need 8 hours of sleep? Well then you’re not a writer, your just pretending.

I know that it’s a hard truth, but our biggest excuse for not writing is a lie. We have the time, we just don’t utilize it correctly. This goes back to my last post :Get Over Your Distractions and Get Back in that Chair to Write! You either let other things consume your time, or you fight through the distractions and write.

The truth is that if the fire to write is truly in you then you will take a little time away from TV and Facebook each day and do some writing.

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