Something NaNo this way comes!
For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a month (November) when writers decide to announce to the cyberspace world their intention of completing 50,000 words in a new manuscript.
Now there are guidelines: It should be a new work and it should be a book. Not a collection of short stories- a book. They say if you think you’re writing a book, they will also. My first few years I always started a new book each time. That’s where The Glass Gargoyle and Warrior Wench both got their starts. But when there are deadlines, even as a self-published author, ya have them, starting a brand new book each November isn’t feasible. So I’m going in with the spirit of NaNo (50,000 words in a month) but not the exact letter of the rules.
This year I’ll be a NaNo Rebel yet again. The words counted for NaNo will all be new and only from November. But they will be part of The Golden Basilisk, Book Five in The Lost Ancients fantasy series.
Prepping for NaNo is as important for the ninth time as it is for the first. This is a writing sprint and marathon rolled into one.
- · If you’re a plotter, having an outline will probably save your rear and your sanity. Realize you won’t be getting an entire book out, but you’re getting the bones.
- · If you’re a pantser, do whatever you do to grab a hold of your characters and world.
- · TRAIN! Some folks can and do crank out 1667 or more words a day—EVERY DAY. If, like me, you don’t always hit that—prep now. Make yourself increase your writing. A short story, another non-NaNo book, something. Track your words. Know how many on average you can pound out in an hour.
- · Adjust your schedule. Say good bye to TV. Figure out what days are going to be non-writing and take them out of your calculation. 1667 words per day is for 30 days. It goes up to 1786 a day if you take just two days out.
- · Tell your significant others what you are doing. You’re going to need support!
- · Follow and buddy other writers—share your joy and pain on the forums on the NaNo page.
There’s no cost, you just go to their sitehttp://www.nanowrimo.org/ and sign up. Then you look for folks you know and add them to your “buddy” list so that you can egg each other on. There are local groups for most areas, so even if you don’t know someone- you can meet some like minded folks.
Why would thousands of people, for the most part semi-sane, choose to inflict 50,000 words upon themselves like that? Why do people run marathons? Climb mountains? To have the experience. NaNo is like Mt. Kilimanjaro for writers. And it’s a great learning tool. Most writers, even we seat of the pants type folks- have some inner censor going on when we write. Some little voice that makes us stop and question ourselves mid-chapter.
You can’t do that during NaNo. In pure self-defense you have to take that little voice, stick a gag in his mouth, and ship him off to Siberia. When you’re cranking out 50,000 words (page count of 170-200 pages depending on the writer) in one month- you are writing FAST. Some may be crap, some not. But you cannot slow down to edit or self-censor.
It also teaches you to write through any blocks that come your way. You just bowl right over them. So when you return to your more normal level of writing, you’re not the same person. You’re faster, leaner, and more stubborn.
Welcome to the NaNo madness!