Thursday, October 20, 2011

NaNoWriMo - nays and YAYs

Eleven days until National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

I've participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2003. I eagerly await November and gather a stash of Halloween candy beside the computer. It doesn't lose its thrill year after year. It's a wild romance I have once a year with my muse where we let loose and anything goes. Oh, sometimes we have our moments during the year, but November, it's the time set aside for complete creative immersion. I really need it this year after all the editing and revising I've been doing.
Writers usually hate or love NaNoWriMo. I don't understand the hate. I recently listened to one trash not only the whole idea of NaNoWriMo but the acronym as well. What's wrong with the acronym? He's a notorious nitpicker, though.
Here's what the naysayers argue:
- NaNoWriMo promotes quantity over quality. (And it does. It encourages you to stop stressing the details. Leave the editing for later and just write.)
- If you're serious about being a writer, you don't need it.
- November is a bad month for it with the American Thanksgiving and the holidays approaching.
- The stress is too much with such an unrealistic goal.
- Family, friends, work, and everything else suffer while the writer is trying to reach their goal.
Yet those arguments should not deter you. There are so many great things about NaNoWriMo:
- The community. This is the number one reason. The forums, online groups and real life regional groups are fantastic. There's so much support and love. There are write-ins and parties, and motivational emails by famous authors. It gives you great motivation.
- It motivates you to write without worrying about quality. While the naysayers say it's a bad thing, I believe it to be a good thing. No first draft is perfect. It's important you get the story out there first. You can make it pretty later.
- It gives you a clear goal. 50,000 words might seem daunting, but it's not impossible. You can do it. You might surprise yourself with the ease of which you can do it.
- It allows you to let your creative juices run wild. It's such a creative rush! Plus, it gives you a break from the tediousness of editing and revising.
- People have published the books they wrote during NaNoWriMo. Great stories do come out of the frenzy.
I'll be doing it again this year. Every year except last year, I managed to make the 50,000 word count. (Babies take up so much time!) My fastest year was ten days. I'll be happy just to make 1700 words a day this time around. November is National Napping Month for toddlers, right? I'm going to create a general outline for my novel. I don't know if I'll stick to it, but since I have limited time, I'm hoping it will help me keep on track. I'll be writing a paranormal romance with the working title of Sorrow Phage.
If you're participating in NaNoWriMo this year, good luck! You can do it. I'll be with you every step of the way. Once the buddy tool is fixed on their site, feel free to add me as a buddy. I'm Kalligenia. Leave me your NaNo name in the comments below too, please.


  1. I've just signed up for NaNoWriMo too! it's my first time and I'm not sure if I've bitten off more than I can chew, but I'll give it my best shot. I've used my own name for my user name 'Amanda Leigh Cowley' - not sure if that's a mistake or not?

    By the way - 50,000 words in 10 days? Wow - well done!

  2. Oh, all this talk of NaNoWriMo really makes me wish I was participating this year. I keep trying to convince myself I need to get my rewrites done.

    I've heard various people have a go at NaNo, and how you can't possibly get a good novel in that time, but, like you said, the idea is to let loose with your creativity and just write. All first drafts need rewrites. I love it, because it encourages me to write, rather than analyse every word.

    Like Amanda, I'm stunned at your ability to write 50,000 in ten days! Last year, I just about made 50,000 on 30th November!

  3. Good luck! I'm not doing it. I wrote my last manuscript in July and have been doing revisions. I have nothing new to write.

  4. I'm so excited about NaNo this year! I'm bookworm0753, if they don't upload our old buddy lists when that portion of the site comes up. Sadly, NaNo is about the only time I write novels lately. Maybe I can remedy that someday.

  5. I'm doing it for the first time this year! I'm really excited about the community and support. Love to buddy you when they get that up--I'm Riverite.

    I'm amazed that people think that nothing good can come of a NaNo draft. I write all my novels that furiously--I think it is the only way for me to get a solid draft.

    I have a toddler too. He was two months old during last Nano, which is why I didn't participate. In retrospect, I should have because now I get even less time to write since he doesn't nap nearly as much.

  6. The positives outweigh all negatives. I wrote my upcoming book last year during NaNo!

  7. Amanda, thanks. I believe you'll surprise yourself. You get lost in the rush of it and you'll hit the goal faster than you think!

    C D, the ten days was grueling. After doing it once, I had no urge to do it again! Too bad you're not doing NaNo this year, but I understand.

    Elizabeth, thank you for the good luck. Revisions can keep you busy!

    Cherie, I'm feeling the same way as you. I haven't written any other novels except during NaNo recently. We need to change that!

    Heidi, I'm like you. I write fast in what seems like a fit of madness. Good madness! My son was six months last year. I should have gotten more writing done than I did. Here's hoping for both of us that our toddlers nap for us this year!

    Alex, that's awesome! The novel I'm about to submit was my NaNo novel from last year too.

  8. Ten days? Wow. That's not much time at all! :)

    I'm really looking forward to NaNoWriMo this year . . . despite the fact I don't have any concrete ideas for what I'm going to write. It's been a while since I just threw myself into a project.

    (I'm FlyingWriter. I'll be sure to add you once it's working again!)

  9. Best of luck with it... I think it's an awesome idea - if you can do it, then great:-) I'll be cheering you along from the sideline.

  10. Good luck! I haven't decided whether I'm taking part this year because I have a thesis due HOWEVER I totally think I will give it a shot. The community is so awesome :)

  11. Good luck with NaNoWriMo! I think it's a good thing, and it can help you get those words on the page. I'm not doing it this year, because I have a novel due that I've already started and have to finish.

    Maybe next year? :)

  12. I learned what NaNoWriMo was only a short time ago. But this is the first year that I'm definitely considering it. I have an idea for a new story, have done some outlining. I actually even have the first chapter written, but I'm still a bit hesitant. If nothing else, I'm promising myself that I'll write (hopefully quite a bit ;)) in November. Everyone makes it sound so great, so I'm going to be doing some thinking next week.
    Ninja Girl

  13. TGE, ten days was a challenge to myself. It was hard, but lots of fun! Usually I don't have a concrete idea either. I just go for it!

    Tania, cheers are always welcome. :)

    Mia, they are. There's so much support during and after. Lots of writing talk if anyone wants it too.

    Aubrie, maybe next year! You've got to do your work first. I want to read your next book already.

    Ninja Girl, it's worth it even if you don't do 50,000 words. Get a little taste of it and you'll keep coming back year after year!

  14. Have fun with it!!
    I'm actually hoping to be working hard on edits :D

  15. Best of luck with NaNo! It's almost here. I can't believe it. I've got to finish up my character profiles by the end of the weekend...Ack!
    Ha ha.. Are you joining Em and Lena's NaNo support group?


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