April 12th 2019
Here is the story of how I was overly ambitious and ~almost~ wrote a book.
For those of you who are unaware, NaNoWriMo is a condensed way to say “National Novel Writing Month”. In the month of November, many aspiring writers gather together with the same goal, writing the first draft of a book in a month. The whole concept is pretty simple, you get an idea and you try to write about 1000+ words a day, every day of the month, until that idea becomes a full first draft.
Most people choose to write fictional works for their NaNoWriMo projects (at least from what I’ve seen), but I decided to do my own, slightly-too-ambitious, take on the whole thing by trying my hand at writing a personal growth/self-help book.
I thought the whole project would be cathartic and it has always been on my list of goals to write a self-help book, but I feel like trying to do it for NaNoWriMo was a bit of an undertaking. The first few days were awesome. I was writing 1000+ words with ease and was overflowing with ideas for what direction I wanted the work to go. I had an idea in mind and felt like I had it all together. However, I came to a realization that caused me to understand why you don’t see a lot of self-help NaNoWriMo projects…because self-help books take a lot of time and research.
The whole point of a self-help book is to blend well-placed advice with actual evidence to back up the claims. Whether it be a good reference, example, testimonial, or research finding, self-help books require a lot more work behind the scenes than your standard fiction.
You see, fiction, even realistic fiction, is flexible. There is a certain degree of research that needs to be done when writing just about anything, but the amount of work it takes to compile an actual effective self-help book far surpasses that of a fiction. If I were to write 1000+ words a day AND do the research for every bit of what I was writing, there would be no way to squeeze everything in.
But that isn’t to say that I didn’t make it pretty far in my NaNoWriMo project. I actually managed to hit about 10,000 words by the time I had to call it quits. And I don’t think it is a project that can’t be salvaged down the line either! I actually really like a lot of what I wrote and just need to modify so rambling bits and beef it up with some good facts, quotes, and references.
Sadly, however, I feel like now is not the right time for me to pick the project back up because I am not in the mindset for it. But I would still love to share a bit of what I wrote in upcoming posts so that I am sure the work I put in doesn’t go to waste.
Lucky for me, I broke the book up into neat chapters that covered one idea at a time, so it should be relatively easy for me separate things well enough to create blog post sized portions for you all to read…and hopefully enjoy!
So, the moral of the story is, before you dive into a project head-first, make sure you understand what you’re getting yourself into. If I could go back and try NaNoWriMo again, I probably would have done way more prep in October and given myself a better plan of attack.
But you can’t change the past, only do better in the future. So hopefully I can come back after NaNoWriMo this year with a little more to show (if I decide to take it on again)