November is National Novel Writing Month. For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” It starts on November 1 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in that timeframe. I’ve tried it before and was successful once, almost successful once, and an abysmal failure several times.
So how does it work? The NaNo-er signs up and completes a profile, decides what to write, selects a “home region” (used for stats on the website and offers the potential to meet with others in your area for writing time or inspiration), and starts writing on November 1. During the month, stay tuned to the NaNo website to upload word count and check on others’ progress. Although, you can just do it on your own without the website.
The manuscript I was working on during the McD program was born one November. I only made it to 35,000, but it was a good start. My successful NaNo was the next one in that series (all of which are currently languishing). One of the things NaNo does for me is mostly a head game, but when I’ve done it in the past, it was a license to write absolute schlock. The goal is word count, not quality. There are a lot of helps during the month: pep talks from authors, badges, word-count helpers, etc. If I were more competitive, that would be a help, too.
One thing I’m going to try this year for prep/motivation is to listen to the best RWA sessions from the past couple of years. I’m going to start with Michael Hauge, hoping to get some motivation and story ideas out of the sessions. In person, they always get me super excited. Listening isn’t exactly the same, but here’s hoping.
I’m starting a new story. I have no idea what that story is, but hey, I have 2 weeks to figure that out. So 50,000 words on the page that I can then edit into usable stuff for a story that isn’t in my head. At this point, I’ve done so little writing (read: none) in ages that if I get any words on the page, it will be a success.
Are any of you planning to NaNo? What are your reasons to do or not to do? What are you hoping to get out of it?
I’m 50K into my current ms. and I don’t want it to run 100,000 words, (my later drafts hist get longer) so I won’t be participating this year. I do, however, hope to finish it in November, so I’m with you in spirit!
Well, you’re already writing up a storm. I’m trying it to get back in the writing saddle. If I get any words on the page half the days of the month and it gives me any kind of motivation to continue, I’ll consider it a victory.
Can’t wait to read your next story.
I did NaNo once. It was a failure, both from a word-count perspective, but also because I didn’t get a usable start from what I produced. I’d thought at the time that that might be the case; normally I go to NYC for the Thanksgiving holiday, so with 5-6 days there, travel days, prep days, jet lag days, and excitement days, there just wasn’t enough time in the month to do NaNo any justice. I’m not going this year (thank you very much, Covid-19), so I guess I could give it another whirl. But I’m not prepared for it; I don’t have an idea; I’m mid-project in several things I’d like to get out the door. So…I’ll give it another pass. Maybe next year. 🙂
Good luck and have fun, Michille! We’ll be rooting for you.
Like, Jeanne, you’re already writing up a storm (and already published – I’m re-reading Betting on Hope right now). I’m using it to try to get my writing mojo back. Here’s hoping.
Thank you! That is so generous. And I’m sure your mojo didn’t disappear—it’s just waiting until your current work overload eases up a bit. This current time is murder on mojos.
Good luck, this November. Still wondering whether to fast draft something new or be a rebel and use it to edit.
Thanks, Sophie. I tried editing once and it didn’t go well. I’d love to hear about your experience if you decide to edit.