NaNoWriMo, Who’s With Me?

I’ve got a secret.

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. I did it in spirit one year, but it wasn’t “official”. But first, let’s back up a step—just what the heck is NanoWrimo, anyway?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a writer. As such, you may already know, but if you don’t, NanoWriMo is the official shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which lasts through the month of November. In fact, if you listen closely on the morning of November 1st, you’ll be able to hear the pouring of coffee, the uncapping of pens, and the clacking of keyboards all across the country.

Image courtesy of NaNoWriMo

The goal of NaNoWriMo is, as you may have guessed, is to help you write a novel in a month. More specifically, 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to 1,666 words a day (if, of course, you write every day). Does that sound like a lot? I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s not. Provided, that is, that you go into it at least somewhat prepared. Which is why I’m blogging about it six weeks in advance—in this one instance, at least, there IS a method to my madness.

Now, don’t get me wrong—you can complete NaNoWriMo with little to no preparation. There’s a good chance, however, that what you’ll be left with on December 1st is a mountain of unintelligible garbage THAT YOU WILL THEN HAVE TO EDIT.

As for me personally, I’ve decided to give NaNoWriMo an honest shot this year because between you and me and the fencepost, I need a shot in the arm and a kick in the butt. I’ve written painfully little in the past year, but have ideas and partially written projects coming out the wazoo. I feel like I’ve lost my mojo, and am more than willing to try NaNoWriMo to get it back. I reviewed my WIP’s and settled on the one I think is the best bet for me: A supernatural horror/thriller that will (potentially, hopefully) be the first in a series. I outlined the beats of the story and even started a rough draft, but something just wasn’t…right. But now, I have a month and a half to make sure my plot is tight and everything is ready for me to sit down on November 1 and just…write. Naturally, it’ll still have to be edited (no amount of planning/outlining can eliminate that), but hopefully it won’t be the arduous task it could be.

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So, what do you do if you decide to give it a shot? Well, NaNoWriMo has a website where you can sign up—for free—to get pep talks, resources if you get stuck, a nifty project tracker, find buddies, etc. that help thousands of writers get through the month successfully. Or, if you’re more the loner type, you could…well you could just write. Start the 1st and write your 1,666 words a day (more some days, less others) and find yourself putting the finishing touches on a novel over Thanksgiving weekend.

Those of you who have participated, what was your experience like with NaNoWriMo? Do it every year, or did it once and never again? Whether you use the official website or toil away in solitude—hell, even if you don’t finish the 50,000 words in 30 days, you’re still a writer. Just keep writing.

Good luck!

Published by Kenneth Jobe

Kenneth Jobe is a writer, photographer, musician, and Native Californian living in the Midwest with his wife and son. His fiction has been published in Jitter, The Rusty Nail, Ghostlight: The Magazine of Terror, and the horror anthology Robbed of Sleep, Volume 2.

8 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo, Who’s With Me?

  1. Never done it, and I think it has to be the right fit to just jump in and do it. That being said, I think using it to kick your own butt a little bit and get back into the writing groove–could be a great! Peer pressure CAN be a good thing.

    Good luck!

    1. I agree, the timing has to be right and the stars have to align. One year I was already a few thousand words into something when it started, so I did it “in spirit” by trying to hit the 1,666 words a day. This will be a new experience, and hopefully it has the intended effect!

    1. Well good luck to you! By the way, my facebook account got deleted a little over a year ago (long story) and I started a new one, and I tried to re-friend everyone I could remember, but I could never find you! Feel free to send me a request. As for blogging, man…it seems like I’m constantly telling myself I need to get back to doing it more often but I have a terrible time of actually doing it 🙂

      1. Here I am! YAY! I recently did some soul searching and some finding myself while listening to a podcast and it turns out I am of a “tendency” to not follow through on goals or promises to myself, but I am fantastic at coming through for others. *grumble* It’s damn true. So, I’m going to get back to my WIP (I think I started it in 2013!) and see what happens with my two time a week sprinting sessions I set up for myself. Wishing you the bestest NaNoWriMo!

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