Tuesday, October 27, 2015

How I'm "Cheating" at #NaNoWriMo But Really Winning


National Novel Writing Month begins in a few days! Are you ready? I have been reading alllll the articles and resources to prepare, and I made a pretty neat little outline of scenes and designed a planner to increase my chances for success. 

New work schedule and kids on sleep strike or not, this NaNo flunkie was going to win this time. 

Until....

I had an opportunity come up for the beginning of November that deserves my full creative energy. So my NaNoWriMo aspirations will look a little different this year. Even if it means cheating. 

The rules of NaNoWriMo are finite. 50,000 words on one new project between November 1-30. No intentionally padding words by doing things like naming your character John Jacob Jingelheimer Schmidt or spelling out every contraction. I'm sure there are more, but those are the main ones.

Even though the title of this post was a major spoiler alert, here is my confession: I'm going to be breaking almost every single one of those rules.
  • My primary project isn't new. It's a story that I started writing last year and had to put on hold.
  • Yep. I said "primary." As in, there are two projects I'll be dividing the 50,000 words between.
  • My 30 days won't take place between November 1-30. And this is okay. All of this is okay.
I think the true heart of the official NaNoWriMo rules are getting 50,000 words on the page and not padding them. No one is doing herself any favors by writing an extra 2,000 or 15,000 words that will eventually be deleted. I can give up before I start, knowing I could never win by their standards. That I'm a historically slow writer who's never been able to turn off her internal editor anyway. That no one in her right mind would step into rush-hour traffic at the corner of New Work Projects and Kids on Nap Strike.

Or I can give life to new words at a time when it would be great for me to re-establish a consistent writing habit. To fight for my work and art when there are lots of real-life distractions that make it easy to save it for tomorrow...every day. To learn more about myself and my stories through what will probably be a trying experience. 

I'm hoping that, somewhere in the middle of these 50,000 words, I can finish the first draft of a manuscript that's on my heart and get in some good work on a new one. But whether it's one word or 50,000 words at the end of November, I encourage you to join me in setting aside time to write every day. Let's end the year strong with glorious new habits and beautiful new words and see what we can do! 

Well? Are you up for it? You're welcome to click here to download my free 30-day NaNoWriMo planner!
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Laurie Tomlinson is a wife and mom from Tulsa, Oklahoma, who is passionate about intentional living, all things color-coded, and stories of grace in the beautiful mess. Previously a full-time book publicist, she owns a freelance copywriting, editing, and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications

She's a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a two-time Genesis Award winner, and the runner-up in the 2015 Lone Star Contest's Inspirational category. 
Her work is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary.

You can connect with Laurie here:
Twitter - @LaurieTomlinson

7 comments:

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Laurie, I love your plan! 50K on two projects is still forward progress.

I have done NaNo once, and I loved it. I'm a planner, and having a plan the year I did it worked great for me. I got 60,000 words written that month, and finished up the story in December that year. My timing is usually off for doing NaNo. And this year, that is still true. I'll be finishing up a project in the next few days, taking a short break, and then digging into some research and planning for my next WIP.

May your writing be successful this month!

Meghan Gorecki said...

"Historically slow writer who can't turn off her inner editor." I'm glad I'm not the only one! LOL
I love how the theme of Fighting for Your Creativity/Art/Writing has kept coming up in so much that I've read! It's timely because after 3+months off of work I'm going back Monday. Slowly but surely of course and I won't be back to my usual hours till December or so...but it's another (draining) thing To Do that is good, but that will have me facing that choice of fighting for my writing or not.
I'm totally using your planner for my rather cheating NaNoWriMo project. It's on a story I've been working on for 10 months that's only at 22K words. 50K more will get it close to being done which makes me happy.
Happy NaNo, Laurie. Thank you for sharing all this here!

Laurie Tomlinson said...

@Jeanne - Agreed! Especially when it means finishing a first draft that's been a long time coming and starting another one! You can check out my NaNoWriMo planner to see if it would help you, even planning your writing schedule for the month! Good luck as you finish your project and begin a new one. I love that time!

Laurie Tomlinson said...


@Meghan - It's SO true! I can't turn off my editor at times, but it usually means I don't have quite as much to clean up as others do. Ooooh...I think this theme keeps coming up because Liz Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love author just came out with a book in which this is the central theme!

Totally cheat and do it! (Mine is currently sitting at 32K, so I'm hoping another 40K will wrap it up!) Don't let some rules stop you :) I'm glad things are getting somewhat back to "normal" for you. You've had such a rough road to recovery!

Proud of you, Sister!

Brett W. Tubbs said...

I came down here to say EXACTLY what MG said. Writing is a slow burn for some; myself included! Your process creates beautiful work - so whatever you're doing, keep it up :) xoxo

Laurie Tomlinson said...

@Brett - Thanks, lovely! <3 <3

Laura C. Brandenburg said...

Any progress is better than no progress, so I applaud your efforts!! I'm a slow writer, too (in the sense that if I plan a 2 hour writing block, I'll probably spend the first almost hour just *thinking* about it; usually once I start clicking the keyboard, I speed up :)). But the hardest part for me is making the time! You (We!?!) can do it! :)