As we pass the third-way mark and round toward halfway, I think about what I've written so far, what I have yet to write, and what I usually write. How I usually write.
Normally I write as the story wants to go. I'll plan out the major actions, make sure things lead up to it properly, but generally I just write with the general scene in mind.
Which, yeah, is what I do with Nanowrimo too. BUT (and thats a big but) there is the lurking terror of getting to day 25 and realizing you've written a 45K story instead of a 50K story. Now you have to go back and worm 5K more into that story. In five days. GOOD LUCK.
Um, what I mean is that if you're striving for that word count each day, you tend to not rush toward things. You tend to focus on getting as much out of the scene as you can so you can hit that word count (or maybe that's just me). And while that can lead to a lot of fluff, my beta readers will tell you...that's not a problem I have. Most beta readers say I need more details, more this, more that. So nano forces (?) me to really work on describing things. Feelings, actions, surroundings, people. I'm not saying I still do a lot of it, but I do MORE. Baby steps.
In the form of 1,667 words a day!
Other benefits to Nano:
1. Writing every day. Yes, it's murder and I couldn't do it for more than a month, but it's kind of cool to write every day, squeaking in words around work, friends, food, horses, and knitting.
2. Since I am writing every day, I'm more in tune with the story. There isn't a month between what I wrote in the beginning and what I wrote at the end. I'll likely remember the character doesn't drink coffee and not have him drinking coffee later.
3. Challenges are fun, especially when losing really isn't a big deal.
4. Permission to write absolute schlock. I'm not sure my current story will ever see the light of day, but it doesn't matter. It's just for fun, and that takes the pressure off. It's like when I go for a run--if I run for exercise, it's hard to motivate myself. If I run because it's a gorgeous day and I feel like running, it's fun.
5. Cheering on your other friends who are doing nano with you. And yeah, you can cheer when you're not participating, but it really doesn't feel the same.
Here's to the next 18 days!