I know since school started that I haven’t been blogging like I should be. So, since this week is Fall Break, I knew I had to take the opportunity to blog or else who knows when I’d feel sane and whelmed (as opposed to overwhelmed!) enough to do it. Probably not until Christmas.
Anyways, we’re a third of the way through October and I know I need to take the time to do a blog on Nanowrimo. In case you’ve never heard of it, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The purpose of this movement is simply to get people writing. The goal for all participators is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.
I know! It sounds daunting. And it can be, but only if you let it be. It is definitely doable. I know. I’ve “won” (completed my 50.000 words) for the last two years. The first year I was smart and kept ahead the entire month. Last year I struggled, but I made it. This year I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do, but I am going to do it and I’m hoping for a 3 for 3 record. (A hat trick? A turkey?)
You can learn more about the initiative at the official website: NaNoWriMo. But I’ll give you a quick run down. Of course, you are supposed to write that 50,000 words by midnight of November 30th. You are not allowed to start writing until November 1st and you are supposed to work on a completely new project. You may brainstorm, outline and experiment all you want before November, but no actual writing can be done on your project. Don’t edit what you’ve written during November, simply write. You may write whatever genre you like in whatever way you like. Just make sure that before midnight on November 30th you upload your completed 50,000 words into the site’s official counter (don’t worry, your words are not saved, only counted) to claim your rightful spot in the winner’s circle.
However, there is nobody going around enforcing these rules, so don’t feel bound by them. The first year I participated, I did start a story completely from scratch, which is the story I am currently working on editing: Hunter, Hunted. Last year, however, I worked on a continuation of a previous writing project that I wanted to make progress on; I just counted only the words I wrote during the month of the contest. You won’t be disqualified for doing this (nobody really cares, not even the people in charge) so long as you are honest about what you actually wrote in November.
And also because the point is that you are writing and that is the whole reason behind this project.
After having done Nano the first year, I wish I would have learned about it and participated in it earlier. It really helped me as a writer to just write because it broke me of one of my worst habits: editing while I was writing. This need to constantly revise my own work even before I had a completed first draft was holding me back and I didn’t even realize how much until I forced myself to just write so I could win Nano. Writing 50,000 words without any editing sure does break that habit. And it taught me that in the first draft, perfection is not the key, completion is.
In case you’re wondering, no, 50,000 words did not equal a complete novel for me. I had to spend following months writing (or not writing, which is part of what took so long) 50,000 more words before it was done. But I had a finished book, and one I was dang proud of. That’s better than anything I had previously done, no matter how polished those partially written stories were.
So think about doing NaNoWriMo. You still have 20 days to sign up and start brainstorming. If you do sign up, you can friend me. My user name is goddess_evie.
And even if you don’t win, I promise you won’t regret it. Because you’ll have accomplished something, and that is certainly better than nothing.
If you have any Nano tips, go ahead and share them in the comments!