What is NaNoWriMo?

19 Dec

Well, NaNoWriMo is an acronym for National Novel Writing Month, a splendid event that takes place during the thirty days of November.  During that time, those who sign-up participate in the challenge of writing 50,000 words before December 1st.  That sounds like a lot, but it’s roughly 1,700 words a day.  If that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. . . but it’s doable, too!

The point of NaNoWriMo is 1) to get you seated and writing, and 2) to get you past caring about the quality of what you are writing.  The latter of which you’ll easily overcome because there’ll be no time for editing.  Now, you don’t have to get to 50,000 words nor stop there if you make it past that; the important thing is that you achieve points 1 and 2.  NaNoWriMo also gives you millions of other hopeful writers around the world to struggle with, taking one of the loneliest activities in the world—writing—and making it communal for 30 days.  All of this on the power of donations from charitable persons and from grateful writers alike.

When running through NaNoWriMo, you first sign-up and receive your own little corner of an author page to work with.  You can sign-up in advance of November, although I’m not sure how far in advance you can go.  And I didn’t do much with my author page, but there you can give details about your novel-in-progress, give details about yourself, or make some friends to struggle with on your 50,000 word quest.  You also go there to update your word count.  It’s a copy/paste sort of deal.  Nothing fancy or complicated, just copy and paste.  After that it counts how many words you’ve loaded and posts that to your page (it doesn’t load your writing).  You have to be careful, though, because the site’s word counter counts differently from some and your entry may be more or less than you thought, depending.

This last November, I not only attempted NaNoWriMo but I also completed it and made my 50,000 words.  I had lots of encouragement from @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter that gave interesting writing prompts and plenty of writing sprees.  And being able to identify with others who were ahead some days and behind on others was fun.  It’s what I imagine running a marathon is like.  You can talk about it and read about it as much as you like, but you can’t really know the feeling until you’ve crawled across the finish line yourself.

And lately, as I’ve been editing my work, I’ve completely changed the story I was originally going for, so now I may only be able to salvage half, at best.  This sounds like a waste, but half of 50,000 is 25,000, which is much more than I had in October.  Even if all I could use were 1,000 words, that is still more than I had.  The word count is a goal, but not the main goal.  I only needed to write.  It was a plus that I made the goal as well, and my potential novel certainly won’t suffer for it.  The writing also helped me so much with point 2, because I have a perfectionist problem.  I don’t like first drafts, I feel they should look more like thirds or fifths.  Impossible, I know, but that’s my aim, and NaNoWriMo helped me to learn how to quell my inner critic.  At least, for 30 days.  It was a benefit all the way around.

As I flesh it out more I’ll be able to share more about my WIP (Work In Progress).  It’s still an ongoing project that I’m slowly getting a handle on, but the focus of this post is about NaNoWriMo, what it is and how it works.  Which I hope I have given some justice.

If you like this post or want to add your own experiences to the mix, feel free to comment!

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bottledworder

easy reading is damn hard writing

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