I'm glad to announce that many of my writing buddies are now NaNoWriMo winners (congrats!). Among them, today we're meeting Lissa Bryan, who during this NaNoWriMo has been working on her third novel.

Isn't it a great news?
Lissa Bryan is the fabulous author of Ghostwriter (have you read the interview with its main character?) and of The End of All Things

Today she's talking with us about her NaNoWriMo experience, with some exciting news about her upcoming new novel.


NaNoWriMo was good for me (by Lissa Bryan)

I’m so busy these days, I struggle to find time to write. Social media, blog posts (both mine and guest posts) answering emails and PMs, plus trying to finish the last few chapters of my fanfic story. I saw a blogger once say he was too busy being an author to write, and I began to commiserate with that statement. I found myself saying frequently, “I’ll do this stuff today and write tomorrow.”

I started work on my third novel back in May and by October, I’d barely made a dent in it. First, I had the edits on my second novel to complete and then it seemed like there was something else always waiting for my attention. I started seeing the posts for National Novel Writing Month and it was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here was something that would force me to focus. It had accountability and I’d be forced to keep on track. A participant has to enter their daily word count, and then sees a chart showing where they should be. The daily word count recalculates based on your progress, so losing a day of progress adds to the number of words you’ll need to produce in the future to reach 50,000.

1,600 words a day. I remember when I used to produce 5,000 word chapters per night without breaking a sweat. But as soon as I began writing novels, my word count plunged. I know why: I’m taking it too seriously. I need to return to those days when I could “write like no one is reading.”

That’s what NaNoWriMo is all about: speed and progress, getting that first draft out of your head and into the hard drive, and letting go of your worries about editing, grammar or how to word that sentence just right. It can always be corrected later; what can’t be fixed is a blank page.

My goal was to finish the first draft of the entire story, but as I learned during my early fanfic days, I’m terrible at estimating story length. I reached my NaNo word count goal of 50K, and I’m still only about halfway through the storyline.
What I loved most about NaNo was the spirit of community among participants. Other writers set different goals and we cheered when they met them, whatever their word count was. Because NaNo isn’t only about hitting a certain number, it’s about the war against the blank page. And whether you hit the 50K mark or the 5K mark, you’re a winner in that war.


Thank you, Lissa, and congrats again!

Lissa Bryan's new novel will be available in January 2013! Don't miss it.


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