These two posts from The Golden Pencil* made me realize how much NaNoWriMo has changed the way I write.
I used to agonize over every word. I used to not write, because I was forever waiting for The Perfect Opening. If I did write, every sentence took forever because I wanted The Perfect Word. Even for stuff that didn't matter, like school assignments.
Now, after five years of NaNo, I just write. I don't even read my blog posts before hitting the orange button -- which is bad, because I'm a terrible typist. (Seriously. It took me 17 keystrokes to type "typist." But that's also because I got my nails done yesterday, and it always takes me a while to get used to typing with my fingers instead of my claws.)
The good thing is I'm writing. The words are moving from my head onto the paper. I'm more confident about my writing; when I go back and re-read that stuff, I like what I've written (I used to HATE re-reading my stuff, which is why I never proofread my papers for school. Now I don't proofread my blogs because I'm lazy; I like what I've written, but my ADD-brain is just ready to move on to something else.)
The bad thing is... well, I can't say "I don't proofread" because I didn't do that before either. There is no bad thing! NANOWRIMO IS THE GREATEST WRITING EXERCISE EVER!!!
(Okay, there is one bad thing. My husband is not too fond of November.)
While watching the Oscars, I was thinking about what I would say in my acceptance speech.** (This was, coincidentally, right before Kate Winslet told us about her rehearsals with Shampoo-bottle Oscar.) In my speech, I decided I would have to thank Chris Baty and the rest of the NaNoWriMo/Office of Letters and Light team.
I have a half-finished novel that is still in the half-finished stage that I started my first year teaching (when my Guardian Angel had me stumble into the Borders Books on Westheimer in Houston, AT THE EXACT SAME MOMENT a critique group was meeting. The dude working the info desk took me to the deep, dark corner where they met, and those amazing, lovely people invited me to join them. And write with them. And SENIOR YEAR went from a long-forgotten file on a floppy disk to A NOVEL). This was 8 years ago, people. And it's still half-finished. It has not yet been NaNoed.
Since that first November of 2004, I have written three novels (one of them took two Novembers) and one stack of drivel (which might could perhaps someday be salvaged into something resembling A NOVEL. Actually, UNA NOVELA, since that was my NaNo-in-Spanish year). I don't think of myself as someone who wants to write, because I do write. I am a writer. Thanks to Chris Baty.
Now I just need to work on the other little carp that keeps getting in the way, and edit all those beautiful, completed novels into something worth submitting. So I can start earning my millions.
PS: November's a long way away, but April is just around the corner! Have you signed up for Script Frenzy yet???
*Who used to have her own blog, but now is part of this Bizzia thing? Don't ask me, the posts arrive in my Google Reader and I don't question from where. Until I have to link to them.
**which used to be for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress; now it'll be for Best Screenplay or Best Adapted Screenplay