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.
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.
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.