Teaching writers' workshop is the best thing I do all day. It is powerful to help young children to become writers. Great books, intentional instruction, high expectations, and wide open spaces. Think Katie Wood Ray. Think Ralph Fletcher. It all comes together here.

Same philosophies extend to instructional coaching. It's about clarity of intention, reflection, and ownership. Working side by side. Building communities of learners (of all ages).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thank you, NaNoWriMo!

It's almost 10:00 pm on November 30, and I am not scrambling to finish my NaNoWriMo manuscript. (In fact I am blogging instead.) How is that possible? Spoiler alert: it is not because I have already won. It is also not because I am delusional enough to believe that I can write 25,000 more words before midnight tonight. There is no NaNo panic for me because I am thrilled with how this month of writing turned out. 

Really? No NaNoWriMo glory? No triumphant tweeting of word counts smashed? No t-shirt? Nope. And yet I could not be happier.

Now I would be a big, fat liar if I said that I didn't want to finish 50,000 words this month. But since that didn't happen, I have been looking for (and have found) some positives.

1. I made writing a priority in my daily routine. This was not easy for me--workaholic that I am. And while I discovered that 1,667 words a day was not feasible for me with my current schedule, I learned that 500-1000 words is absolutely reasonable. So while I missed the NaNo mark, I did learn to set my own daily goal based on how I work as a late night writer. I learned to stop making excuses and just write already. Every day.

2. NaNo pushed me to move forward through my project. Instead of remaining tangled in constant revisions of the opening chapters of my manuscript, I learned to push ahead during the drafting process. This has been very good for me. Trapped in the shallows of a project, it was impossible for me to think through the complexities of the story. I needed to be deep in the writing before I could even see the potential problems and possibilities. Perfectly wordsmithed opening chapters aren't worth much if the rest of the book has a flawed structure/premise/plot/character arc/pace/etc.

And, finally--drumroll, please. . .

3. I still love my WIP! There is no burnout when you work at my shockingly slow crawl across the page. My novel and I are not sick of each other. There is no overwhelming need for space or seeing other manuscripts. On December 1, I will continue writing 500-1000 words a day until my first draft is finished.

Then I will put it in a drawer for a while before I start revising.