Friday, October 29, 2010

How I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo

For the last several years, I've noticed that odd acronym NaNoWriMo pop up in blogs this time of year, so I had some idea what it was. I knew you had to write 50,000 words in one month, but why? Why would you write for the sake of quantity. I shoot for quality, so why would I blather on knowing it would probably be a lot of garbage. Maybe a toss-away novel.

Now I understand. I’ve been in a creative slump for several months. My writing muscles have atrophied and I’m facing my demons wondering if I’ll be able to come up an idea exciting enough that it will pull me and push me along. My plot ideas are still a little fuzzy, but I do have a great cast of characters waiting in the wings.

Then this week, the NaNoWriMo Boot Camp appeared in Nathan Bransford’s blog and I had to see what the fuss was all about. I found the NaNo website and I liked the tone right off. It throws down the gauntlet in a light-hearted way, and knowing that there’s a skazillion other writers wired up on coffee and chocolate creates just the right cyber group dynamic that appeals to me. NaNoWriMo already has over 95,000 people signed up.

As NaNoWriMo purports, “The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly," and for writer's facing a month long hermitage, NaNo promises, ‘Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.”

I’ve never been a prolific writer. I labor too long over the right word, stopping the check the thesaurus, googling ideas and images. Getting distracted, going off on tangents. NaNo will not let me follow those diversions. I’ll have to stick to the ‘paper’. Writing 50,000 words in one month means 1,666.666 words every day.

So how am I gearing up? I'm staying tuned to Nathan's NaNo Boot Camp. He is chock full of good advice, including Day Two's post on how to get ready. Starting with characters and plot points are essential. Knowing what your Protagonist wants, or think he wants and what obstacles stand in his way is what drives the story. Maybe the Protagonist has conflicting goals? And don't forget the Antagonist, who has his or her own goals, a hero in their own story, although it will obviously be at odds with the MC.

I'm going to go sign up today. Wish me luck, especially since on Monday, November 1, the kick off day, I will be on an airplane for 7 ½ hours. Writing 1,666.666 in long hand? Geesh.

Have you NaNo-ed in the past? Are you planning to this year? Never heard of it, or hate the idea? Let me know!

Want to know more about it? NaNoWriMo - What the heck is it?


  1. Oooo. You're inspiring me to at least consider this. I've been one of the 'one day' writers for a long time. Maybe this is the kick I need?

  2. Beth: Hey, what have you got to lose? I'll bet you have a lot of stories waiting to be told.

  3. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!! Enjoy your nanowrimo!!!! There are so many writerly bloggie friends I follow who are all gearing up for it and I really really wish you all well!!!!!

    Go writers, go! :-)

    Take care

  4. Thanks Kitty! I'm working on my NaNo profile as we 'speak'. I'm already getting a little nervous thinking about it, but I'm committed now!

  5. Good Luck Rahma! I am doing NaNoWriMo. It is my first time too. You are welcome to buddy me on the nanowrimo site. My user name is: last_lines
    Also, Lia (Scribblerati) has set up a FB NaNoWriMo Warriors site where there will be a lot of support, encouragement, cheering and advice from all the writers there.
    You going to write a story with the Guardian Cats?
    Also nice to see another blog post from you.

  6. Love the picture!

    Good luck with this.

  7. Wishing you the best for NaNoWriMo, Rahma. I won't be participating this year, but I will be cheering you all from the sidelines.

    Nice to see that you are blogging. :)


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