Only a week until NaNoWriMo!

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Eep! November is only a week away and everyone’s talking about NaNoWriMo – the thirty-day writing marathon that I’m trying desperately to ignore. If you’re out of the loop, it’s NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, and it involves writing a complete 50,000-word novel during the month of November.

It began as a lark in 1999 with twenty-one “overcaffeinated yahoos” in the San Francisco Bay area, and year by year has exploded into a worldwide online event that in 2010 involved 200,500 participants. The story of how it happened is found here.

It’s a tortuous, and exhilarating run of madness, and it works. If your writing needs a kick-start and you’re willing to make a commitment to write at least 1,667 words a day, without editing (because there’s no time to edit – you do that when November is over), it’s great motivation.

I’ve participated four of the past five years, but this year my enthusiasm has waned before November even arrives. I have other writing on the go and want to stay focused on it. There may be 1,667 words written in a day, or there may not be. There may be more on some days, but at the moment I don’t want to be conscious of having to log in and report the numbers. If I change my mind, I’ll let you know.

How about you? Will you be taking part in NaNoWriMo? What would be its advantages or disadvantages for you?

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20 thoughts on “Only a week until NaNoWriMo!

  1. madi says:

    no time to edit or obsess. now that’s an idea!

    • Thanks for stopping in here, Madi. Yes, the pressure of so many words in a limited time frame leaves no time to obsess, and that’s a good thing for those who tend to spend all their time fussing over word choices to the point of never being able to finish the story.

  2. I think this is twice in one day … what a bonus :) Nope. Don’t do it. I use an internal motivator because like you, I started this writerly life as a retired person. What better motivation than to have waited through the kids, a career and menopause to sit and get to it ? It is a great idea for others who need to jump start their work. Comically, the passing of calendar months jump starts most of what I do :)

    • Hi, Florence. Last night’s post is the bonus one — couldn’t pass up sharing that video. LOL! As for the internal motivator, I get it insofar as time keeps pushing past me. I’ve been writing poetry and non-fiction for decades, but the novel writing is a much bigger challenge. The temptation is to stress indefinitely over all the mechanics of structure, and NaNo compels you into a headlong race past all that. If I needed to start something new, a first draft in November would suit me well, but I’m in the midst of something for which I need deliberation time.

  3. mE says:

    Morning…know I’ve not been communicating, but have been re-reading my writing info to try NANO AGAIN, and trying to get in a just do the blasted book frame of mind. We are also packing up stuff for storage. Got boxes full and more waiting for stuff. Would like to get down to bare bones for the “just in case” moment that a job comes thru for JJ, beyond B’ham, but not too far.
    Keep on keeping on m’friend.

    • I’m happy to hear you’re aiming for NaNo, Earlene, because I know, as I said to Florence, that once you commit to it and start rolling past the qualms, you can get it done. Paring down the clutter around you may help free your mind for the writing, but the “just do it” attitude is ultimately what it takes to get going. You have nothing to lose by trying, and so much to gain! :)

  4. joylene says:

    I’m not participating, and as yet, haven’t. November is a busy time for me, once summer is over. This year I’ve got an e-book version of Dead Witness to market. But one of these years, I’m going to dive in with both feet. I can feel the water up my nose already.

    • NaNoWriMo isn’t for everyone, Joylene, and November isn’t the most convenient month to give entirely to writing. (Personally, I wish it were in January or February.) When you’re already busy writing, revising or marketing I’d say you don’t need the kick start. But when you’re ready to start something new, or even push something through to completion, the sense of accountability to the NaNo community can be a big help.

  5. Nope…I’m not a joiner. I know…can you imagine that?

  6. karen evans says:

    I played Nano two years. Hard, but fun. Learned a lot about my imagination. :P Don’t have the opportunity this year. But will again.

  7. Jenn Hubbard says:

    It doesn’t suit my own writing style, but I like the fact that NaNo exists. It gives many writers an excuse to put their writing on the front burner for a whole month.

    • Jenn, I think that’s the main reason I’ve liked NaNoWriMo. We shouldn’t need an excuse, but those of us who haven’t published a novel yet maybe find committing to NaNo justifies our choice to spend a large chunk of time writing and to be visible about it. (Oh my, that’s a dreadful sentence, but you get my point.)

      Lou, I’m not a joiner when it comes to real time clubs and organizations, so I can understand why this might not appeal. I enjoy the online community of writers, however, and NaNoWriMo expands that community. I see writers on Twitter periodically giving each other a challenge… “start now and write for thirty minutes, then report the total number of words.” I think then it’s more about the challenge and accountability than it is about interaction.

      Hi, Karen. It IS hard, isn’t it, but challenging and stimulating, too.

  8. This will be the first time in 4 years that I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo. I’m trying something different. I’m already second-guessing myself though because I love the support and encouragement that NaNoWriMo offers. I need blinders or something.

  9. Oh, you are brave! I’ve never done this. I may try another year, if I get bored and have nothing else to do. HA! That says it all.

    I hope you enjoy it!

  10. Laura Best says:

    I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo, and really have never considered it. I guess I know myself too well. It’s a huge big commitment and I admire anyone who is able to pull it off. I’m almost positive I couldn’t.. 50,000 words in one month…Wow!

  11. Amy says:

    Just stumbled across your blog – greetings and salutations!

    As for NaNoWriMo…. I’m in! First time nanowrimo-er (how’s that for a word?) and I have no clue what I will be writing about. Life is crazy and writing even crazier, so I’m winging it. I love to write, but have never written a novel. I love the idea of writing without editing, even though my internal editor resists being relegated to the rear (of my mind, that is). An added bonus is getting out of solitary mode and being open to finding new crazy writing friends ;)

  12. Amy says:

    Forgot to check the notify me box…. :P

  13. Thanks for adding to our conversation here, Bridgette, Jen, Laura, and Amy. I think NaNo’s zany thirty-day dash probably brings out the best in writing buddies and the worst in writing, but as long as it gets the words flowing it’s all good. I’m still not committed to it this year, but I’ll be writing anyway.

  14. I thought I might do it this year, but life’s gotten in the way. I kind of wish it was a different month…like maybe January or February…

    • I’ve often wished it were January or February, too. November is always so busy that it’s hard enough to get our regular writing done, never mind trying to focus on NaNo’ing. Your whole fall has been a particularly difficult one this year.

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