In It to Finish It

It’s Day 2 of the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest and I have 5 pages, including my cover page—a few hundred words at most.

And I am proud of it.

I spent most of Day 1 building the mythology of my mer-tale. I researched water-name etymology; biological taxonomy and the Orders of Cetacea and Sirenia; water spirit folklore; and oceanography. Then I spent a few hours writing.

Now I know nerdiness and procrastination aren’t as integral to every writer’s process as they are to mine. Still, I was kinda surprised to see how focused other 3DN contestants are on word count. Especially since there’s no minimum word count requirement to win this contest.

Yes, the judges factor number of words into their final decision. But I suspect “good writing” and “makes sense” will be weighted far more heavily. Hemingway famously wrote a novel in 6 words: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.” In less than a paragraph, he encapsulated past, present and future action; unspeakable sadness and disappointment; and even 3-5 characters. Ultimately, I think the number of words should be determined by the story you’re trying to tell, not an arbitrary numerical goal.

But all that’s beside the point for me. I’m not doing this to win publication or money. Sure, it’d be nice, but with a little hard work, I’m confident I could pull that off myself.

I’m in this contest to finish a book—my 30th birthday present to myself—to try something new and to learn more about myself as a a writer.

So… what have I learned so far? Probably shoulda made the elaborately color-coded taxonomical posters before the contest started. That was fairly time-consuming. And maybe the refreshment table wasn’t absolutely vital.

Most importantly, I realized I write fiction like I write for business, painstakingly editing as I write. So in Day 2, I’m prioritizing the big picture. I’m going to try dictating my novel using my iPhone, then transcribe it with this software I bought last year to record interviews (and never actually used). Wish me luck!

Photo by Playingwithbrushes

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I'm a smart, sassy, globally-mobile freelance writer, content creator, brand journalist and nonprofit storyteller. The world is my office. Email me to find out more.
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