Ah yes – November 1 is looming. For a lot of writers out there, that means participation in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – in short, getting your arse in chair and cranking out a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 PM by November 30th.
In regards to my writer friends, the concept of NaNoWriMo (seriously, I’m just going to shorten that acronym to NaNo from here on out, OK?) produces split reactions. A third of my friends gasp because they are daunted by the prospect (which, if you write daily, susses out to a little over 1,600 words per day); a third of my friends scoff and say that there isn’t anything good that can come out of a binge writing session like NaNo; and then the final third of my friends are a bunch of happy worker bees who exude sunshine and effective word counts. (I’ll let you guess which third I fall into. Definitely not the third, erm … third.)
I’ve been “participating” in NaNo since 2009 and honestly, I’ve never fit into any of the categories that I list above. In 2012 and 2013, I was knee deep in mothering mode for my newborns, so sleep trumped writing. And in the other years, I was usually in editing mode or doing my own half-assed attempt at NaNo that didn’t really involve keeping word counts.
Despite my apathetic showing in regards to NaNo, I do think that it’s a good concept. The world is full of people who want to be published writers. How does one get published? Well, that’s a blog post for another time, but unless you put words on paper, there’s no chance in hell that your work will be published. NaNo encourages writers to get into a daily habit of writing. And at the end of November, people will have a shitty first draft (SFD) of 50,000 words to craft and hone into a better draft. It also fosters a sense of community, which is great when you consider how solitary writing can be at times.
The NaNoWriMo official website has a TON of great resources that writers can leverage as they prepare for the November 1st start date. They also provide different prompts and exercises to help writers if they get stuck on their drafts. Another blog that I’ve been reading and absorbing lately (and for more than just NaNo) is K.M. Weiland’s website “Helping Writers Become Authors.” (Seriously – this is like an MFA on a webpage.) Ms. Weiland has had some killer posts lately on helping folks prep for NaNo.
So … 2015. Will this be my year to NaNo or will I be as apathetic as I’ve been for the past six years? Weeee-lll. Here’s the deal: My goal is to finish a draft of Dragonfly in November. Keep in mind that it’s already about 75% done, but I’m hoping that the prep work I’ve been doing for the past couple of months will have me in good shape for cranking words out in November. I’d be doing it, even if it wasn’t NaNo (and seriously … that’s one of the “points” of NaNo, establishing a regular and sustainable writing practice). But it’s fun for me to cheer my fellow writing friends on and to feel like I’m part of the game too.
OK friends … let’s get ready to NaNo. Asses in chairs, fingers on keyboards – luck to you all!