Next month sees the start of National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. I’m going to assume most of you know what NaNo is but for those who don’t, here’s gist of it.
Thousands of writers from around the world will attempt to write a 50 000 word novel during the month of November(or more if they are so inclined to). Crazy right? Right. But then, all us writing folk have a little crazy in us that we hide from society on good days. During November, not so much. It’s all about the crazy then.
My bio here says that I’m a huge fan of NaNo so it’s with a sad heart that I write this post today. Because I will not be doing NaNo this year for the simple fact that I have too many completed novels and none of them ready to be thrown into the query trenches. The worst thing I can do now is write a whole new novel to add to that pile. Sometimes I don’t like logical me. Right now I’m doing a last round of revisions on the novel I started during last year’s NaNo which makes this a bitter sweet time for me. What I will be is a NaNo rebel. I might finish the last 25k of the novel I started in 2010 and will finish the 2nd draft of a novel I wrote a few months ago.
But you! You get to do it. If you decided to participate this year, you get to be a part of this madness and I envy you. I’m positively green with it! I’m well aware that NaNo isn’t for everybody. One of my CPs tried it last year and said that the pressure of getting it done was too much. She’s the kind of writer who likes to take time and think as she writes and that makes for a bad partner when it comes to writing 50 000 words in 30 days if you don’t have a system/structure in place. I understand that.
For some reason the NaNo hate was extra obvious last year. Maybe I shouldn’t say hate, and instead dislike. I read a few posts where the writer/author/observer was dismissive, deriding, and sometimes disrespectful of those participating. Ugh. I don’t have time for that. BUT! The support was loud enough to drown out a stadium of crazed, soccer-obsessed fans, and that made me smile and think, I’m proud to be one of those crazed fans. I loved seeing all the NaNo posts and updates in my reader whenever I took a few minutes to scan through it.
I love NaNo because it’s a challenge. And if there’s one thing I can’t resist it’s a challenge. I love the community and how extra small the world feels during November. The rush of being on deadline is something I thrive on as well. The abandon with which I get to write, leaving the editing and revising and worrying that there’s more wrong with this story than right for later.
This is a good time to prove to yourself that you don’t need to be inspired to write. Writers write, with or without their muses. It’s as simple as that. If all of us waited for inspiration to strike we’d never get anything done. And if you’re one of those people who’s inspired all the time, I envy you. Hand over what you’re drinking, I want some of that too .
The support is amazing. AMAZING. There are so many other writers attempting this that you will never be alone, especially if you’re part of the Twitter writing community. There’s always somebody willing to kick your behind when you feel like slacking or giving up. It makes a difference.
At the end of the day, if you take a logical approach to writing your novel, it’s definitely doable. Think about it like this. If you do four sprints with a target of 500 words in each sprint, you’ll have about 2k at the end of the night. That’s about 300 words more than the intended 1 777 words you need to write a day. If you’ve plotted your novel, or are a pantser like me but know exactly where your story is headed, this shouldn’t be too difficult. There will be plenty of word wars and writing sprints happening on twitter and facebook, so there really is no excuse for not giving it your best shot.
Even if you don’t finish or hit 50 000 words by the end, you started a new novel. That’s 15 000 words you didn’t have. That’s 23 000 words that you wouldn’t have written. That’s insane and awesome and great and fantastic all at the same time! You are a rock star for even starting! Well done, you.
I’ll just sit here with my puppy eyes and sad smile while everybody else writes with no restraint. I’ll bring you chocolate, coffee, cookies, bacon, and whatever else you need to keep yourself motivated. I love motivating people, so if you need the kick, my right foot is all yours. Just let me know
On that note, here are some links to help you out. Some of them are from a few years ago but they still apply:
Maureen Johnson: Your NaNoWriMo Questions Answered. There are a lot of helpful tips, go have a read.