Unofficial JulNo/NaNo Pep Talk for High Count Writers


Vision 72


Unofficial JulNo/NaNo Pep Talk

for High Count Writers


Lazette Gifford

Joyously Prolific Blog

Copyright © 2013, Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved




This article is adapted from one of my Joyously Prolific blog entries last year.


Taking part in JulNo, Camp NaNo or the venerable NaNoWrimo this year? These challenges are to write 50,000 words in one month. For many people this is a prodigious amount of work. Others, however, join these challenges knowing that 50k words in a month would be easy for them because of many factors. This doesn't make some faster writers good and slower writers bad, but sometimes there is an annoyance factor that gets out of hand, and one side or the other feels they are under attack.


If you are a fast writer, chances are you will have written a good amount while others are barely getting started -- many of them fighting to reach the minimum 1613 words a day, while you push on to twice that amount and more. By the end of the challenge you may have an entire full draft of a new novel that is well over 50,000 words.


Some people will claim you are cheating. Others will tell you that you shouldn't have taken part just to show off. Others will tell you that you ruined the entire event for them.


They're all wrong.


There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed.


That's the first thing I need to tell you because chances are a lot of snobs will tell you otherwise. Just because you happen to write faster than some of the others is nothing to be upset about -- neither for you nor for them.


What you does not concern them, but you see . . . a lot of them are not writing, so they have this time to make swipes at people who are, and they're not very logical about their attacks either. There are several factors that can play into why you are writing more than some of the others which might include an outline, more time, better focus, less time being snarky . . . and a love of writing.


The last is the part many people never take into account when they look at those of us who write more than what is often considered normal -- as though there could be such a thing in writing at all. Everyone works to a personal beat and with as much energy, ambition and ability as the author has at his or her moving little fingertips. We find our comfort zone for writing, whether that's one paragraph a day or a dozen pages at a time.


This applies to writing outside of the occasional crazy challenges we take on as well. Some of us would rather write than watch television; this is a personal choice, but taking it gives us hours more each night than others might have for applying to their current story. This isn't saying that writers should stop watching their favorite programs, though. They only need to realize that some people are entertaining themselves through their own stories. They are writing what they want to read and (for those even interested in publication) believing there are others out there who will like what they do. The audience might not be huge, but that isn't a factor. They are telling the best story they can and enjoying the process.


So don't let the naysayers about 'quantity and quality' jab at you. I've been working with writers for more than a decade and I can tell you something these people don't want to hear: The speed at which you write the first draft has nothing to do with the final, published quality of the material. I've known people who have taken years on their first drafts and had stories no better written than something of the same length and genre another person took a month to write. In fact, I've found that the faster some people write novels (not all, there is no all in the world of writing), the more coherent the first draft is because the author has kept better contact with the storyline and characters. They have remained closely connected with their story universe and even without an outline or notes, they have kept a link to what's going on. They are living the story, not writing it.


Speed has nothing to do with quality of writing. Quality comes from what you know, what you are willing to learn and how well you edit afterwards. Write slower if it suits you, but don't be afraid to fly and don't let anyone else tell you that you shouldn't fly either.


For those who are writing faster than others: You've done well.


Everyone has done well who takes part in a challenge and sticks with it to see what they can do. Just because someone has done better than you is not a sign of failure. Someone will always be a better: write faster, write more, write better. It doesn't matter. All you have to consider is the work you are doing. They have no effect on your words any more than you can affect theirs.


Get your manuscript finished and then set the story aside for a while before you start the work of editing. Don't let editing scare you, either. This is a wonderful, wondrous gift for writers who are allowed to rework and reword every bit of their art until they can get the stories they want.


Whether fast or slow, tell the story you want to create. Focus on your words. Dare to take a challenge now and then if it suits you, but do it for yourself and don't worry what others are doing.


Have fun!