Friday, November 7, 2014

Is NaNoWriMo a Sprint or a Marathon?

Lately I've been hearing criticism of NaNoWriMo November. Critics say that writing is a marathon, not a sprint. By saying this, they are insuiating that racing through the month of November in an attempt to belt out as many words towards the next novel as possible is not a viable way to write a book. They are saying that that's the "sprinting" method of writing.

I have to disagree. This is the first year I am actually participating in NaNoWriMo the real way. I did not have word one written down in my Scrivener file (or anywhere else for that matter) before November 1. But that didn't mean I didn't prepare. Before November 1 rolled around, I spent a lot of time getting my book ready. I created a detailed outline (which, now that it's November 7, I can tell you I haven't stuck with all that much, but it's a help still, for sure). I researched a ton. I printed color pictures of my characters, the house, a map of the town where my characters will live--and taped them on what my children refer to as my "stalker wall." I did all the same things I do when I'm writing any other novel at any other time of the year. I didn't skimp. This is what I'd have to equate to training for a marathon. This is what is going to help me be successful on Race Day.

November 1-30 is my marathon. It's the race day. It's all about laying it all on the line. It's continuing to plug forward when I want to stop. It's putting one foot in front of the other (or in this case, one letter after another). My success on this marathon will be determined by how good the product is when I'm done and will depend upon how faithfully I trained for race day, how committed I stay during the race, and my endurance as I push through obstacles such as someone saying I can't write a whole entire novel in thirty days.

[By the way, the whole analogy kinda breaks down when you consider that I will not be done on November 30. If I happen to be done with the first draft when that day arrives, I will still have revisions (plenty of them) and all kinds of work ahead of me. But those are other races on other days. Now get back to cheering me on, will ya?]