Attempting NaNoWriMo

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November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing) Month. An almost insane frenzy takes over writers’ lives everywhere on the planet during this time of word counts and writing attempts.

If you’ve never been part of the frenzy, now’s your chance to pick up the gauntlet and leap in with both feet. There’s still plenty of time to get ready for the onslaught. You will see posting everywhere online about the event.

Here’s some advice for the newbie to the party.

  1. Check with your library about NaNoWriMo. Most libraries are aware of it and help writers participate in it.
  2. If possible, contact a local writing group in your area that are having small write-ins or monitoring activity get-togethers. Join in. Such groups usually leap at the chance in initiate the newbie. If there are no such groups in your area, find one online. You can go to nanowrimo.org/ and register to participate. Read the information available there about groups, buddies, etc. You’d be surprised who might be registered from your area who might want a writing buddy. Make their acquaintance and gain a new friend in your locale.
  3. Decide what you want to write. You don’t have to write a novel. You can be a rebel like me, who only does a novel every couple of years. If you want to revise something you’ve already written, go for it. The real purpose here is motivation for writing.
  4. Okay, so you don’t already have a novel or anything else to revise, but you have a germ of an idea. Great.
  5. Your problem is finding enough dedicated writing time to pull it off. Don’t sweat it. This isn’t really a competition, regardless of what some people say. If you only have fifteen minutes in the morning, half an hour at lunch, and an hour after dinner, that’s good enough. Remember, you aren’t counting minutes. You’re counting words.
  6. Your word count is not supposed to be anything more than rough draft, the rougher the better. 50,000 words looks huge as a goal. You don’t believe you’ll ever make it that high. That number equates to 200 pages. That’s roughly six and a half pages a day. That’s a much smaller number, isn’t it? That looks much more doable.
  7. Post your day’s tally either at the end of the day or just before beginning your writing the next day. The NaNoWriMo site will keep a running tally for you with words and pages.
  8. And that’s it. Try to write each day. If something happens and you can’t, don’t panic. Write when you can, as much as you can, and be proud that you achieved so much. No one will fault you. No one will kick sand in your face.
  9. Above all, enjoy the process. Feel the mental burn of creativity and watch those writing muscles grow and flex their new strength.

Well, that’s my spiel on the coming November challenge. I’m still going to do a weekly post on here during the month. I’m hoping that all the writers out there will challenge themselves in some way, whether through NaNo or some other device.

Have a fantastic week, folks. Me? I’ve got a critique group meeting on Thursday evening and a NaNo kick-off pot luck dinner on Friday night. We’ve got a terrific library that creates its own activities for the challenge. We’ve got some of the best librarians around, let me tell you.

Anyway, have fun and I’ll be back on Sunday, after I’ve written my flash fiction story for the day. And if you are doing NaNo this year, drop a comment below and tell me what your project is going to be. I’d really like to know.

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