Monday, November 1, 2010

A Marathon of Sprints

NaNo starts... NOW.

NaNoWriMo has been likened to a writing marathon.  I think it's more a series of sprints that are part of a much larger marathon.  And really, isn't all writing the same?

For me, the business of writing isn't done by sitting down and typing straight through to THE END.  I sprint for as long as the words are pouring out, then I take a break before the next sprint.  Sometimes the next sprint is later the same day, and other times it's days or, heaven-forbid, weeks later. When the book is finished, you can add up all the sprints and consider it a good show at doing a marathon.

Except it's not over there, and whole different set of exercises begin.  But that's an analogy for another day.  Maybe in December when we're all recovering from NaNo.

Speaking of NaNo and sticking with the analogy, when you're doing your November thing, your sprints have to be every day or nearly every day.  Run as fast as you can for however long you have.  Do it again the next day until you've hit your 50K goal or December 1st - whichever comes first. 

I suspect it's the same way with deadlines.  (Any published writers out there will have to let me know in comments.)  You have to race to get your product to the publisher in the time set forth in the contract. 


It would be great if we could sit down to write and not get up again until we hit the end, but we aren't built that way.  No one is.  Even marathon runners can't run for a month straight.  We need sleep.  We require sustenance.  Writers especially need to recharge, so our brains don't short out. 

So, as you approach NaNo - or any other writing project - don't think of this as a marathon, but as a series of sprints.  And don't feel guilty when you need to take a break.  You're human.  If you never needed a break, you'd be a robot and robots don't write good books.  ;o)

On your mark.  Get set.  Go!


  1. I like that! Sprinting. Except for me, I take waaaaay to many gatorade breaks!

  2. Just passed the info on to DD that they have a version for kids as well.

    She's already taken to co-opting my laptop in the evenings to work on her stories, so it shouldn't be that much of a stretch for her :-)

  3. I like your analogy! Since I dabble in running, I for sure know that you can't race without stopping (well, at least I can't). Good luck with your sprints!

  4. Great advice with the sprinting! Last year when I did NaNo, I tried to push the whole way through without stopping and I course I fell flat on my face.

    Good luck and I'll be cheering for you!