Saturday, October 25, 2014

Jumping into the NaNoWriMo Deep End

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, begins in a week! For those who don't know what the heck that is, here's the mission statement of the National Novel Writing Month organization (did you know it's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit? Cool.):

National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

What the mission statement doesn't say is that November, NaNoWriMo, is the month that you take 30 days to write a 50,000-word rough draft of a novel. The website gives you a whole set up with an account, inspiration resources, and a way to track and advertise your progress. It's a great way to jump-start a novel, to put the cattle prod to the lazy muse, or just to get one of those super-awesome story ideas down on paper instead of rattling around causing weird dreams.

I've always said I would do NaNo when I had time. I've come to realize, I'll never have time unless I just FIND the time. So, this year, I am going to take the plunge and try to pound out 1,600 words a day for a 50,000 word total for the month. That's the plan.  Now what's my prep work going to look like?

Well, for starters, I am a die-hard "pantser." I have held to my method of typing and discovering my stories as I tell them, and for the creative outlet, it works very well. I love the surprises and the journey of discovery. For the "try and help support my family by being published" part of my plan, it doesn't work so well. And for NaNo? I'm pretty sure it will suck all the words out of my brain and put them somewhere in an alternate dimension for the month. I have a few things I'm going to try to do at least for the month to facilitate the whole novel being written:

#1: I am going to outline. Sort of. I don't have time to learn to do it well, so I am going to give myself a crash course in at least one and probably several outlining methods. I already have SIX tabs open with different outlining theories.

#2: I got a trial of Scrivener. We'll see if/how that helps.

#3: I am committing myself to getting up early and going to bed at a decent time. My husband and I keep talking about doing this (see the last post on false starts), but it's crunch time. Gotta do it.

#4: Gonna sign up on that and also commit to my American Night Writers Association sisters that I am going to do it. Having that accountability and support will help push me to reach for that 50K goal. In addition, I'll have my husband on board the support train. That's important because this is a change to my daily routine.

Now, something to remember about NaNoWriMo is that it is not to have the novel edited and published, just the first draft--so it really does emphasis quantity. I am excited to give myself a framework (which I hope to at least have mostly complete before November starts) and just go crazy creatively to complete the novel. I'll edit it later. Probably fifty times, if I'm just letting myself write without inviting my inner critic to the party.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo this year? What are your strategies for a successful National Novel Writing Month?

Happy Tappity-Tap-Tapping and see you on the other side!!


  1. Yes, I'm committing to NaNo this year. I've got a fairly good outline and will also be using Scrivener. I've got a sweet few hours in the morning (due to getting up before the rest of the family) that will be the basis of my writing time.

  2. Yay Leann! I'm so glad your taking the plunge into Nano waters! You will love it! I'm not Nanoing this year but I plan on taking advantage of all the good writing vibes to try to edit. Good luck and I'll be checking on you!

  3. I’m not technically doing NaNo, but I’m going to jump on all the writing excitement and use it to do a major overhaul on my novel!

  4. I'm like Kasey, going to use this month to finish my own work!



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