NaNoWriMo or bust!

It is nearly October, which is almost November, which is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.  What is NaNoWriMo and why should you care?

NaNoWriMo is the opportunity to challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  50,000 of whatever words you want.  They don’t have to be good words or even coherent words, just words down on paper (or the word document).

Now, for the sake of it being a bit more fun than just writing down random words you should probably strive to write a story.  The important thing about this exercise is that you shut off your inner editor.  That’s right.  You are going to write and write and not worry about whether what you just spent 2 hours working on was crap or not.  Just keep moving along.

Why should you do this?  I did it because I wanted to see if I could.  I write best under pressure, or at least with goals and deadlines.  I had attempted to do this for the past 3 years but last year was the only year I accomplished my goal.  I am not sure why.  I wasn’t even going to do it last year. I was getting ready for a long distance move. It was the holidays. I was lazy. But none of that mattered once I got going. I worked my butt off and even finished my word count early. I would go on an add 30,000 more words to complete my first draft during the months after NaNo.

So, what did I do differently this past year rather than other years?  I had a plan.  I did not go in with a blank slate.  I don’t work well that way. I have a tendency to freeze up, so I wrote an outline.  I developed my characters.  I used Michael Stackpole’s 21 Days to a novel. I took his writing workshops at Dragon Co and found it helpful then bought the ebook. You can find it on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Novel-Secrets-Writing-Guides-ebook/dp/B0029O0ANM. Remember that even if you have a plan you do not need to follow it.  An outline is not there to restrict you, it is there to give you a logical structure to follow and to help develop your ideas so they don’t flounder.

Perhaps you are a seat-of-your pants type of person. Doing NaNoWriMo (or attempting to do it) has taught me that I am not that type of person.  I suspect that if you are you might want to at least consider writing down a few thought ahead of time. . Reading Stephen King’s On Writing may inspire you because that is the type of writer he is.  Even if you are an outliner you should read it.  I found it fascinating.

Another way to prepare may be to read some books on writing or listen to writing podcasts.  I love Writing Excuses (http://www.writingexcuses.com/).  They actually talk a little bit about NaNoWriMo in some of the podcasts and have done some of the pep talks that are sent out throughout November.

Why should you join on the website and participate rather than doing this on your own?  For one, it puts you in contact with other people who like to write. You can be inspired by others in the group and perhaps you can inspire others.  You can meet people in your area that are participants (this part is optional– some people I have talked to did not like this aspect but I did). It will give you goals and deadlines (to stay on track you need to write an average of 1667 words per day).  You get pep talks from authors throughout the event.

If you like to write think about participating. It’s free and fun and you can make it into whatever you want it to be.  If you decide to participate feel free to add me as a writing buddy.  My username is krinaldo.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

2 Responses to “NaNoWriMo or bust!”

  1. Alan T. Haley Says:

    I shall have to write vicariously through you this year.

  2. Kristen R. Says:

    I will write for the both of us! 🙂 We went to a meeting of our local group and it seems like it is going to be great!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s