Elizabeth: Ready, Set, NaNo!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

November, with NaNoWriMo, is a ready-made time to get some words on the page.  Thousands of other people are writing at the same time, there is a tool to track your progress, and there are dozens of individuals, both on the NaNo site and on their own blogs, who are offering advice and encouragement.  As a plus, it’s getting dark earlier and earlier these days, making curling up with a good story (your own, of course), an appealing choice.

Last year, there were 431,626 official NaNoWriMo participants, and since its inception, there have been over 250 traditionally published NaNoWriMo novels plus an unknown number of non-traditionally published ones.

Last week, once I realized that November was right around the corner, I dug out my old NaNo user name and password, logged on to the site, reconnected with my NaNo Writing Buddies, and got my author dashboard ready to go.  This year’s book currently has the uninspiring title “2016NaNo” in part because I was having a hard time deciding which story I wanted to work on this November.  It took a Sunday afternoon of collage-making before I finally made the decision.  My cozy mystery (Cassie & Nicolai’s story) won out, despite the fact that my contemporary  choice was a much stronger/defined story.    In the end, I went for the (potential) thrill of uncovering a story that I have only a sparse outline for.


Option 1

Option 2

Option 2 – the winner

With my story selection made, my last bit of pre-work this weekend was to do a little motivational NaNo reading.

In his NaNo Pep Talk, Daniel Jose Older entreated writers to “be brave and ridiculous and absolutely you in your journey to the page and beyond.”

Christina Dodd in her recent post on the best way to write a book was more direct: “Just … write it.”

Chuck Wendig talked on is blog yesterday about the “joy of getting it wrong,” and how “getting it wrong is a vital part of getting it right” since that is how we learn to do things.

I’m going to put the “joy of getting it wrong” on a Post-It by my computer as a reminder not to get bogged down chasing perfection while trying to get my draft down on paper this month.

Now, it’s time to just write.  I’ll check back next week with a progress update.

Whether you’re participating in NaNo or not, how is your writing going?  Any lessons, motivation, or advice of your own to share?

9 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Ready, Set, NaNo!

  1. Elizabeth wrote: As a plus, it’s getting dark earlier and earlier these days, making curling up with a good story (your own, of course), an appealing choice.

    I love this! And of course, my story is perfectly matched to my tastes and sensibilities (when it comes out OK). I re-read a lot of what I’ve done in the fantasy universe I’m working in, and I have been happy (even when I put despairing comments in parentheses, the preceding paragraphs really weren’t all that bad).

    (-: I’m glad you are going with Cassie and Nicolai.

    I got a slow start yesterday, but I have two hours blocked out for this evening, so we’ll see what I do today. I want to read the Wendig blog, and then I sort of want to find a “cover” for my current WIP. I’ve neglected a lot of the visual elements this time around; I have a few pictures of camp life, but nothing I’d really think is really core to the story. (-: I am putting a strict limit of 15 minutes for Wikimedia Commons; I am NOT getting lost in there and eating up my story time. I do think visuals can be very valuable and inspiring, though.

    BTW, my favorite read this time of year is Chris Baty’s *No Plot? No Problem!* Halloween night, I stopped reading at this: “The single best thing you can do to improve your writing is to write. Copiously.” Do I really need any other advice at this point? I know what I want to do. The trick now is just to do it, and keep doing it until it comes out OK.

    • Good luck on your writing and on your Wikimedia limit. I’m trying to limit my internet time as well, though I fear that will be a challenge. I’m determined to hit my word count for today, even though I didn’t get home from work until after 8:00pm. Maybe the time pressure will be some kind of creativity spark.

      • LOL, I think you know me well. I went over my limit. (Yet, I didn’t find a good image. I did find a lot of interesting images to put in the general file, though. Two people in a boat, most of them. Hmmm.)

  2. The joy of getting it wrong—well, I’ve been doing a lot wrong in the last six months, and maybe one day I’ll find the joy in that. Right at this moment, though, the book’s going a bit better, so there’s some joy in that, at least.

    Good luck with Cassie and Nicolai over at NaNo! We’ll all be rooting for you, and of course, looking for excerpts here.

  3. Good luck to all fellow NaNoers! I am jumping into an entirely new (and rather underplotted for me) story. I’ll be writing about that in my post next Monday. Be sure to ‘buddy me’ – my user name is Nancy Y.

    I’ve been on news blackout for several days and will continue that through the end of the election for sanity reasons. This helps me stay off the interwebs for everything except the handful of writing blogs I follow, so as to avoid the siren call of time sinks.

    • Good luck on your new story – here’s hoping we both have a successful month. As for news blackout, I’m with you on that; not just for the “avoiding time sinks’ but also because it’s just so negative. I can definitely do without all of that.

      I see we’re already NaNo buddies from last year. I’m “InvisibleBetty” for anyone else who wants to connect.

    • I thought yesterday, “I should go on a news blackout. I’ve already voted, so there’s nothing left for me personally but the moaning — won’t do any good until November 10th or so. I’d be better off NaNoing.” But of course, the second thing I looked up this morning was us election 2016. Grrr. Must control myself better.

  4. Pingback: Brevity is the Soul of Wit | Peggy Larkin

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