Nanowrimo 2010

For the past few years I have tried, and miserably failed, to participate in Nanowrimo. Last year I took a break from it and everything else to focus on other things. However, a friend of mine sent out a FB note asking people about Nanowrimo. So I signed up.

The idea of writing a novel in one month seems ridiculous, even to me. Some people think doing Ironman is ridiculous; in my mind it makes more sense than nanowrimo. However, since September I have been thinking of plots, characters, ideas, and strategies to actually do this.

My first strategy is the word “no.” Right now I’m training for Ironman, working, and getting ready for nanowrimo. I have had to say No to many commitments that have been asked of me. This is no easy feat for me. I learned from my dad that “yes” is a great word and that we need to step up to make things happen. However, I have learned in the past few years that if I say Yes to everything, I will be left with no time or energy to do the things that I really want to do. It has taken some time to learn to be selfish like this, but it’s really coming along.

My second strategy is to learn about all the fun things that happen around Nanowrimo in November. I learned about these chat rooms where people do “sprints,” which means that everyone sits and writes continuously for 5, 10, 20, etc. minutes at a time. Then they take a break for the same length of time to chat, go to the bathroom, or just think about the story. Then they do it again. I actually did a sprint recently and really liked it. It was like an interval in training and I really like intervals. I’m going to intersperse my writing with sprints.

My third strategy is to make clear goals every day. In order to write 50,000 words in one month, I must write around 1,667 words everyday. Last night I watched a cool video about nanowrimo and the strategies and it suggested making a calendar. So I did. In my day-planner, I wrote in the amount of words for each day. By the 30th, I will have 50,010 words… in an ideal world.

My fourth strategy is to create characters now. I am trusting that details and ideas will come as I write, but I want to have a loose plot and characters, places, and names in place before the 1st.

My last strategy is to surround myself by nanowrimos. On the 1st, I’m going to a nanowrimo launch and then there is my friend that somehow convinced me to do this in the first place. We have a small group of people that we’re hoping will get together every 7 to 10 days during November. I’m mostly looking for online support, though, because there are going to be times when it seems impossible. I hope that the online groups will provide the inspiration I need to keep going.

Here is my day-planner with the pretty pink goals:

Nanowrimo Word Count

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NaNoWriMo Adventures

NaNoWriMo means a lot more than just some random letters thrown together to some people. To some people, it is a little bit of insanity pushed together for one month – the month of November. In the month (the Mo part) of November, writers (the Wri part) from around the world try to put as many words together as they possibly can into a novel (the No part).

I can’t remember where I first heard about NaNoWriMo. I think it just kept coming up in conversation with writing friends I have. So when I looked it up in October and saw that it was a couple of weeks away, I thought “Sure, why not?” Apparently I didn’t really realize what I was getting myself into. For me, NaNoWriMo is about even CONSIDERING the idea of writing a Novel because I have never really thought about it before. My writing, for the most part, has never really gotten past some articles for magazines/newspapers, poetry for my own angst left in my journals, and my online blogging. It is a big step for me to even start putting together something for a novel.

There are people in the world, I am discovering, that take this month very seriously. They update their word counts religiously everyday, join online communities to talk about their plots and blocks they are having, do writing “sprints” in chat rooms, and some of them have even reached their 50,000 word count already and are working on the second set of 50,000 words. As I read my Livejournal Friends list, I am in awe of these people. They are truly dedicated to thier writing, novel, and story. Since this is the 10th year of NaNoWriMo, some of them are veterans of this. I’ve heard of some people not writing in between NaNoWriMos because they get so burned out after November. It is pretty much a given that writing a novel in a month is hard and you have to set aside significant amounts of time and energy to do it.

Last week, I sat down and wrote out one paragraph of something that I just wanted to try out. That was all I could muster. I also don’t have a lot of time and I like to sleep. It seems that writers tend not to sleep very much and/or they have jobs that are conducive to coming to only half awake. For me, I am just too busy to actually keep up to the 2,000 words per day speed. Maybe that’s just an excuse and if I was serious, I would just not have a life for a month while I crank out a novel. Perhaps I will about that for next year’s NaNoWriMo.

All that being said, this weekend I am hoping to do some writing. Like I said, this month is really about me even beginning the process of writing a novel. A good friend of mine, who I consider a writer even if she doesn’t, is much better at stuff like this and we talked about a potential plot. It has been marinating in my head for a few days now and I think I am going to try to put together something so that I, too, can update my word count on the NaNoWriMo website.

P.S. Na=National