I write a lot like I run. I came to this revelation during the last week of NaNoWriMo.When I was in elementary school, I used to be a pretty decent cross-country runner. Now I can barely catch my breath going up a flight of stairs. But when I was younger, I had a good sense of strategy to my running.
I knew that it was best to reserve my energy for the finish line, so I’d start off steady and easy, with no urgency to rush or hurry. As I reached the finish line, I summoned all of my pent-up energy to make a mad dash to the end. This worked out pretty well: I was one of the faster runners and I received a nice little ribbon for my effort.
I apply the same strategy to writing. Writing for NaNoWriMo is like training for a marathon. You exercise everyday, building up speed, endurance and muscle. For the first half of NaNoWriMo, I was steady and gradually upped my word count. Some days were less productive, others were very productive.
As I reach the end, I’m challenging myself more each day to exceed my expectations. It’s not so much that I want to reach 50, 000 and win, it’s more about travelling deeper into my story now, wanting to know the end. I’m curious about where it will take me. I feel as if 50,000 words will only be the tip of the iceberg: I see a possible sequel in store and a spin-off story for one of my secondary characters.
I like the rush of adrenaline writing under pressure gives me: the excitement, the anticipation and the uncertainty.
Sometimes it’s more about getting your story out as quickly as you can, so those ideas and the life you’ve given it don’t fade away like a mist.
NaNoWriMo definitely makes you faster, more determined and more knowledgeable. It prepares you for the finish line: it doesn’t matter if you get there first or last. You still reach the end of November and you’re a writing athlete for trying.
And the benefits pay off.
You get that addictive rush and you keep coming back to NaNoWriMo each year. You stay mentally and creatively fit. You cultivate a healthy habit. You help others by encouraging them. You are a role model and inspiration to others, especially young writers. You prove to yourself that you can set, commit to and accomplish goals.
I’m looking forward to that rush when I reach the finish line, whether I’m the fastest runner or slowest.
Good luck Wrimos! See you at the finish line 🙂