No, not Halloween (although I’m super excited for that as well). I mean the first of November. Do we all know what November brings (besides turkey, tryptophan induced naps, football and pumpkin products)? It brings NANOWRIMO! Now I *know* some of you just groaned loudly while others may be scratching their heads. I hope a few of you are jumping up and down and clapping with unbridled glee (you will be my extra special friends).
For those who don’t know, NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month (which is a mouthful and a pain in the ass to keep saying and/or typing so I shall refer to it merely as NANO from now on). It’s when you spend the month of November trying to write a novel of at least 50,000 words. Personally, I have often hit the goal of 50k, but that’s never the end of my novel so I continue it after NANO ends.
It’s grueling, it makes you a social hermit, you’ll end up talking to yourself and waking in the middle of the night to jot down notes and dialog. You may forgo showering ,eating (woo added unintentional diet bonus!) and sleeping, but you will have a novel (or almost a novel) by the end of the month! How cool is that?!
Now, before the haters pop up and start bitching “a NANOvel is NO novel!” let me explain why they may be annoyed. For those of you who have never written before and are going to use NANO to give it a try, firstly, AWESOME! Yay for you and good luck! Secondly, even if you finish writing your novel in November (be it 50k or 70k or 100k) know that what you hold in your hot little hands is a very lovely, very wordy rough draft of your novel. You will have a long road of editing ahead of you, BUT you’ll have accomplished something many people haven’t and you’ll be on the right track to polishing your work and getting the masterpiece published. Just don’t go trying to shop your book around until you’ve gone through that editing process…several times.
As for me, I like to use NANO as a catalyst to get me going on a story. The constant checking in and checking what my writing buddies’ word count is up to is great motivation, for me anyhow. Like I stated above, I don’t normally finish a story during NANO but I can come damn close and by then I’m all excited to get it done and so I’ll keep at it. Deadlines are good for me.
Throughout the month of October, I’ll be posting pep talks and guest posts on NANO prep. What to do if you don’t have an idea (No Plot, No Problem!), outlining and research, getting out while you still can, etc. If anyone is interested in doing a guest post (even if it’s one on why you DON’T like NANO) please leave your name and email in the comments below and I’ll be in touch!
When November rolls around, I’m going to be your own daily little cheerleader. As you guys have probably noticed, I am not a daily blogger, but for this, to keep you guys going with advice and a kick in the ass, I am going to do the ABC-123(4)s of NANO. Everyday I will put up a short little something for that day’s letter or number. It might be about drama, pacing, resolution, etc. You’ll have to check in each morning to see. I hope it’ll help people keep at it and even if you don’t hit 50k by the 30th, hopefully you’ll keep stopping by and keep writing till the end of the month.