Only a week until NaNoWriMo!


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?


November? NaNoWriMo? Really? A Rebellious Wrimo Speaks Out

What? I’m not allowed to feel rebellious? Well, too bad. I am! On Monday morning, November 1st, the writing world will be waking up to wrimosity… my word for writing animosity. Anyone who has openly admitted to participating in NaNoWriMo‘s thirty-day dash to a 50,000-word novel has likely encountered disbelief and ridicule from friends, family and incredulous neighbours.

But not from fellow writers and wrimos. No, we understand the drive to produce words. Anything that can give us an extra push towards literary achievement is a good thing. But there are some among us who are feeling the pinch to produce under difficult circumstances.

There are rules attached to NaNoWriMo that are creating frustration in the ranks. The intent of the NaNo endeavour is to create a complete novel, from beginning to end, within the thirty days. Those of us who didn’t plan ahead find ourselves with partial novels on the go… ones that we want to finish before starting something else. Ones that we would work on as a NaNo project if it weren’t for those darned rules.

Some are admitting that they plan to participate anyway, and only count the new words that are written during the month. Others are carefully adhering to the rule and only “shadowing” NaNoWriMo, using the month to continue working on a previous manuscript with a self-monitored goal of 50,000 new words. Still others are escaping entirely and dedicating their headlong lunge to 50,000 words in a “Write Non-fiction in November” (WNFIN) challenge.

Now the calendar is flashing itself provocatively at us, jeering at our lowered eyes, reminding us that there are only two more days — just one weekend — between us and the starting gate. It’s almost decision-making time. The Twittering has begun, there’s a Facebook page organized, and a blog on the go (from founder Chris Baty’s ‘Office of Letters and Light’). Everything is ready except ME!

If you haven’t already seen the following video that’s making its way around the web, here’s a little ditty that’s helping to get fellow wrimos in the mood.

So, how about it? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Will you be raring to start as the minute hand slides away from midnight Monday morning? (Does anyone still use those watches and clocks with Mickey Mouse arms or is everything digital now?)