NaNoWriMo – I’m Looking at You

Hi all,

Last month, I decided, after several years of thinking about it, to participate in NaNoWriMo this November.

NaNoWriMo Logo

For those not aware, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and is where writers attempt to write fifty thousand words during the month of November. That’s right, fifty thousand hopefully non-rambling words in thirty days. For some, that equates to half a novel. For others, more. As I’m planning to write the first draft of a middle grade novel, I’m hoping it will equate to a full novel (probably brimming with fluffy superfluous words I will slash and burn, come December).

You sign up at the NaNoWriMo website, make friends with equally crazy online writing buddies doing the same, and track your work’s progress. There are also loads of resources and associated events to help keep your motivation up and creative juices flowing – I won’t go into more detail than this; you can check it all out on the website.

So why am I doing it? Well I’ve spent the best part of the last few months developing my story structure, along with detailed scene and character outlines, for the middle grade idea I’ve had for over a year. With a personal preference to lean toward pantsing over plotting, I’ve decided to grit my teeth and try a new approach this time, care of some words of wisdom from author, K.M. Weiland who points out that:

“…a correctly wielded outline can be one of the most powerful weapons in your writing arsenal. Outlines ensure cohesion and balance in the finished story. They prevent wasted time pursuing dead-end ideas, allow you to craft resonant foreshadowing, and, most importantly, provide you a foundation of confidence and motivation.”

And that’s what the last few months of planning and preparation has taught me: the confidence and motivation to write this story. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I don’t usually outline, but in this case it is much more in depth. I’m hoping that translates to a quicker first draft.

Now in terms of NaNoWriMo itself, I’m not delusional. The pace must be consistently fast, averaging 1,667 words per day, every day. And I know I may not reach fifty thousand words – life has an annoying way of throwing up curve balls. But does that mean those who do not reach fifty thousand words do not succeed? Surely any attempt to put bum on seat and fingers on keyboard (or pen to paper) is better than sitting back, waving your hands at your computer, and protesting that it’s too hard. And at least however far I get will be something to continue with once the sun sets on NaNoWriMo 2017.

When I told my husband of my plans, his response was, “Well, I won’t be getting much sense from you in November.” No, probably not, and blog posts may also be scarce during next month. But if I can wave my first draft in the air once the first of December comes around, it’s a small price to pay. 🙂

Well, isn’t it?

Until next time,

Rebecca

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before and, if so, how was the experience?

 

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7 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo – I’m Looking at You

  1. Sharon

    As your NaNoWriMo writing buddy, I’ll share tips with you that were shared with me:

    – Get as much written on the first day as you can (aim for around 5000), this takes a bit of the stress off and gives you some margin for those non-productive days.
    – There will be rambling. It doesn’t matter. When it comes time to edit, you’ll fix these bits. Better to write massage-able words than no words while bum on seat fingers on keyboard. Oh, and you’ll learn to hate contractions (why have 1 word when you can have 2, right?)
    – Share your challenges/successes and maybe a few sentences with your fellow NaNo buddies.
    – Who knows how NaNoWriMo adds up the words – go over the 50K if you want to “win”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sharon!
      They’re great tips, especially the one about contractions (naturally, my YA and MG writing is full of them!)
      I think the part of NaNoWriMo I’m looking forward to the most is the community aspect. As so many of us are attempting this “thing”, we understand what each other is going through, whether in the throes or, as is currently the case, preparing for it 🙂
      Looking forward to sharing the experience with you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. daniebothawriter

    Hi Rebecca,

    Still on the to-do-list: this “NaNoWriMo-thing.” Then again, it’s at least not on my bucket list.
    If you look close enough next week, you’ll see me in the guard of honor saluting the brave souls of NNWM as they pass in the parade.
    Plotting has its advantages, though I’m guilty of pantsing. I find it fascinating to place characters in a chapter, give them a few suggestions, stand back and take notes as they “surprise” me with their shenanigans. Katie Weiland is a treasure chest of information on exactly why is better, to plot a novel, as you so eloquently pointed out.
    All the best with next month writing-marathon!

    Danie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Danie!
      I agree with you; the surprises you uncover by letting characters lead should never be stifled (I must admit, I do some of this myself, especially in subplots. And it’s fun!) However this time, I’m hoping that by nailing my plot outline down in greater detail before I start (than I have in previous work), I’ll reduce the number of plot errors – and drafts!
      I’ll look for your salute!
      Rebecca

      Like

  3. Good luck Bec! I love what you say about the plotting/pantser approach. I, too, am plotting far more in my second manuscript: too much pantsing = too much redrafting in my book. And although I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I have been inspired to finally try to ‘write every day’ so I’ll be with you in spirit. Hope you don’t get too many curveballs and I’ll see you on the other side of November 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lou!
      So far, so good with NaNoWriMo. Although it’s pretty full on (after all, who doesn’t have other things to do?!), I’m hanging in there, keeping on track, and really enjoying the challenge. And I am already seeing the benefit of a more detailed outline although, I must say, my characters are also showing me where things can be improved or the plot can take a slight deviation!
      Onward and upward, huh! Hope your writing goes well and continues to inspire you,
      Rebecca

      Like

  4. Pingback: NaNoWriMo 2017 – the Surprises (And the Real Win) for Me – Rebecca Chaney

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