A couple of weeks ago, Kate from The Suddenly Kate Show and I were discussing chocolate on Twitter, when the conversation took a turn and we were suddenly agreeing to enter this year's NaNoWriMo. Isn't it weird how things like that happen?
National Novel Wrtiting Month (NaNoWriMo) started life in 1999, which makes this year the 13th year (which happens to be my lucky number). It challenges people to write a 50,000 novel within the month. 1999 had 21 participants, 6 of whom managed to complete the challenge. Last year there were 256,618 participants and 36,843 winners (14%, if you're interested in figures).
There's a reason why I've watched other people taking part, year after year, and settled down contently not taking part. Actually, there are several:
- the only novel I've ever written that was more than 50,000 words took me more than ten years to write
- my mind goes blank when I'm given a deadline, and my procrastination gene kicks in to overdrive
- I'm not keen on first drafts, I don't plan and I don't write in chapter order
- I tried something similar in the past and did badly.
- I've been bumbling along with small projects this summer, but haven't started anything big since Cat and The Dreamer was published
- I want to know if I can do it... after all it's only 1666 words a day, how hard can that be?
- if I can get a new idea written, I can spend the rest of the winter re-drafting and try to have something ready to submit next summer
- it will give me a really good excuse to eat chocolate... brain food, don't you know???
But, I'm feeling a teeny bit insecure... what if I fail? What if I write rubbish? What if I end up writing the same chapter over and over again? What if I won't ever be able to string another sentence together, let alone have the strength in my hands to write out my Christmas cards? What if I eat so much chocolate I actually start to hate it?
Okay, that's enough insecurity! People have been doing this for years now, so I can definitely try!
What about you? Are you taking part? Have you done it before, or is this your first year too?
Still thanking about it. I am trying to get out of waiting for these months and commit to writing daily, but it is fun. I did one in June and August and my goal was to due November as well. I will probably stick to it. Plus, the participant badges are really cute this year. HAHA.ReplyDelete
It is fun once you get into it. As long as you accept the 3rd week slump and power through, you will be fine.
I'll watch out for the slump, thanks for the tip :-)Delete
I honestly did a double take to check this was really your blog when I read your post LOL!ReplyDelete
NaNo isn't entirely as hard as it sounds. When you break it down into a daily word count, it's not so bad. And even if you write rubbish, it's usually fixable. :D I failed at CampNaNo during the summer, but I still wrote 35K more than I would have if I hadn't tried, so it's always worth a shot! :D
I know!! Yes, my thinking was I need a kick to get started, so even if I don't complete 50k, I'll still have a big chunk of words that will hopefully be usable.Delete
I love NaNoWriMo. I've taken part and "won" for the past two years and intend to again this year. Some days I love it, some days I hate it, but I'm always glad I did it at the end. I'm sure you will be too! It also helps that I'm a sucker for a challenge...ReplyDelete
Wow congratulations. I really admire you going for your third time!Delete
Two of my good friends are doing it this year. Both on their own terms. Don't look at it as failing. Get what you want to get out of it, A. You'll be brilliant.ReplyDelete
All I really want out of it are some new words, if I have enough new words that they reach 50k so much the better! Thanks for the vote of confidence :-)Delete
Like training for a marathon. I admire the effort!ReplyDelete
Well, I gave up my one and only attempt at a half-marathon... perhaps I'll spend November running instead of writing - LOL!!Delete
I don't do NaNo. November is a tough month for teachers. And besides, I think I'm too recursive a writer to get 50k words down in 30 days.ReplyDelete
It is a lot of words... so many words... so many... Ahem!Delete
Good luck to you Annalisa! 50k in 30 days is a big task to achieve, but if you have the time and the determination I am sure you will succeed!ReplyDelete
Determination, maybe. Time, no way! I've already told Hubby he won't see me much in November... I'm not sure if he thought I was joking :-/Delete
I've done NaNo for many years - also did Camp NaNo a couple of times. I always found it gave me an extra dose of discipline and a greater sense of community in an otherwise usually lonely profession. Having a draft to work with it at the end was usually helpful, too, although sometimes I ended up just putting those pages away, not "feeling" the potential in it at that moment.ReplyDelete
I wish you good luck! :)
Thanks, I'll need lots of luck! And I definitely need lots of discipline.Delete
Not liking chocolate after eating too much is definitely a risk I don't think I could take;)ReplyDelete
I hope NaNo goes well for you. I'm not doing it and I don't think I will. I have a few projects to finish up which will add up to 50K so I can't really commit to one novel.
I think the pressure of committing to something like this publicly would make me work harder though.
Good Luck! You can do it!
It's a big commitment so if you're already in the middle of other things I can see how it wouldn't fit. Thanks for the vote of confidence though :-)Delete
I'm doing Nano for the first time too! And I have the same worries as you. I wrote my last book in a year, but it's been three months over that now and I'm still editing. I think I only have about two weeks of editing left, which will mean fifteen months from start to finish. Not too bad. But my first book (which didn't get published but will still be revised and tried again) took me three years.ReplyDelete
Now I have ONE month. I mean, I know it doesn't have to be edited--but ONE month???? haha. Not quite sure why I committed to this either. I wanted to try writing with a deadline, where I couldn't procrastinate. I shall be eating lots of chocolate with you! :)
Maybe we can be Nano-buddies and pump each other up. :) Good luck with it. Oh, btw, I feel like an idiot, but I never even considered entering this before, so I don't know much about it. Someone in the comments said they "won" NanoWrimo. How do you win? Do you have to get done first or have the best book or something? Not that I think I'm gonna win--I'll be lucky if I even finish--but I'm just curious! :)
Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog!!
You win by writing 50k or more. Everyone who writes that much is a winner. I think the chocolate idea is inspired - I might even treat myself to some of the good stuff, I really big box of Belgian chocolates!Delete
I've been trying to figure out how to add buddies, but I can't see how. I found the Buddy tab, but it doesn't say 'add Buddy' - do you know how that works, coz I definitely feel the need to surround myself with people!
BTW 15 months is pretty good going. So I'm sure you'll be fine with 30 days :-)
Hello from IWSG!ReplyDelete
I edit while I write... *sigh* so NaNo and I would not get along! LOL
Best wishes with your NaNo journey. You can do it!!!
Yes, I can see how the two might not mix.Delete
The best thing to do during NaNo (and I'm a winner from last year so I know, tee hee) is to leave every insecurity at the door and just write. I kept a document of notes for things I wanted to change, so that I could write it down and know that my ideas would still be there when I needed to come back to them. Make sure you plan for a few days off becasue life WILL get in the way, and just enjoy the journey. It really is fun and a great accomplishment in the end :)ReplyDelete
I hadn't even given my day job a thought - I ought to, though. Thanks for the tips - I'm not a planner by nature, but I'm starting to see the point of it with this challenge. Well done for finishing last year!Delete
It's my third year . . . and I'm a little hesitant this year for only one reason - I'm polishing a novel that I though I would be "finished" with already. But, I really want to join in on the fun, so I'm trying to figure out if I can possibly participate and yet still work on my revision too.ReplyDelete
I say . . .Go For IT! Enjoy the process. Write some kind of plotting/scheming outline plan at least a week before, and then just write. You can never get tired of chocolate.
50k AND a revision - wow! As a newbie, I'm in awe of someone who could do that. Phew - thanks for clearing up the chocolate thing for me :-)Delete
Hate chocolate? Never! Go for it. And if you fail, you succeeded by trying.ReplyDelete
(I love it when talented people like yourself have doubts...totally selfish of me...but it makes me feel better about my own fears)
And I love the way you call me a talented person, Elizabeth - without sarcasm too!Delete
Yay for you and NaNoWriMo! Yes, it takes bravery, but THERE ARE NO FAILURES. Anything you write will help you write better in the future. Some say it takes a million words to learn the craft and become a real author. :-)ReplyDelete
The use of the word brave scares me a little bit, but I know even just trying it is a huge deal. A million words? I'm not quite there yet, then. Actually, that's a nice thought....Delete
I've only signed up for NaNo once, and I didn't get anywhere on my novel. I did manage to get a lot of other work done while I was procrastinating...ReplyDelete
Yeah, I'll probably end up painting the outside of my house, or steam cleaning my carpets and curtains... but at least I'll have achieved something!Delete
I've never taken part in Nano before so don't know what it's like 'on the inside' but good luck :-)ReplyDelete
Thanks. I'm going to need it.Delete
Wow, good luck!ReplyDelete
I have so many reasons not to participate. It's always a busy month. With Thanksgiving, it feels even shorter. I have more time to write in the summer. I'm usually in some phase of editing or being in the middle of something new rather than ready to start a piece. And I don't need to add more pressure to myself since I'm full of anxiety and stress as it is.
Can't wait to hear your progress.
I didn't have that Thanksgiving excuse - in fact, for me November is the ideal time because it's boring, it rains, and it's dark for most of the time. What better way than to spend the month in my PJs, eating chocolate, drinking wine and making stuff up! Oooh, I think I just got excited about it :-)Delete
Good luck to you! I've never participated because, like you, I'm a procrastinator and my mind goes blank when given a deadline. But now you've kind of inspired me to think about giving it a try. Good for you for signing up!ReplyDelete
Thanks Julie. You should consider it, at least. It's taken me several years to get round to it, so if you think about it now you'll be ready sometime around 2016!Delete
I'm seriously considering taking part in NaNo, my first ever attempt. I've been looking forward to it all year. Sadly, I'm quite bogged down with edits for my current project, that I don't know whether I'll be able to set aside the time or not. Good luck either way. I'll be rooting for you at the very least. :DReplyDelete
Thanks Michael. You've still got a month to finish off your edits - fingers crossed you make it!Delete
What's the worst that could happen? Someone else does your Christmas cards for you. Go for it!ReplyDelete
I participated in 2010. That's when I wrote CassaFire.
I'm sure Hubby only married me so I could write out his Christmas cards for him - I don't think his family received any before I came along!Delete
You've made a very compelling argument for taking part though!
I'm not sure I could commit to this challenge but I wish you good luck. Hope it goes well and maybe you could just send e cards this christmas!ReplyDelete
Thanks Suzanne :-)Delete
If you did badly in the past then that's all the more reason to try again.ReplyDelete
That's very true!Delete
I would never be able to participate NaNoWriMo. I would get too distracted and never be able to write something up in a month. I've heard good things about NaNoWriMo around the blogosphere but never will I do it. I will take pleasure reading it on blogs.ReplyDelete
I wish you luck, Annalisa! I love chocolate too so I would be gobbling it up as much as you if I were participating in NaNoWriMo! I'm here for ya and I'll be cheering you on! :)
Thanks Livia - I have a habit of being distracted too, but I'm hoping I can be disciplined for 30 days!Delete
I can understand what NaNoWriMO makes you insecure, but the worst that happens is you write every day. The best thing that can happen... you actually create something fabulous. Go for it!ReplyDelete
Great IWSG post.
Thanks Kim! Yes, something fabulous sounds good to me :-)Delete
I would be going blank or not writing my best if I had a deadline, too, but I think if you give it a shot you might do better than you thought!ReplyDelete
Well, I've got the title, and last night I actually dreamt about the possible plot, so hopefully everything will turn out ok!Delete
You can't fail in Nano... anything you write is progress...that's how I look at it:) I'll be doing it this year, so I'll be right alongside you.ReplyDelete
Brilliant. Have you done it before? I've been on the site and was amazed at how many way they've got to distract me - all those forums, how does anyone write any fiction???Delete
I haven't done NaNo,but I'd like to one day. If I do, I'd probably plan firsthand so that the writing goes smoothly that month.ReplyDelete
Good luck. Even if you don't finish, you'll have the start of a new manuscript.
I'm starting to have ideas, so I'll at least know how to start the story. I've got someone in a coma, but at the moment it could be one of about seven different characters!Delete
you are so funny! i'm glad you overcame the obstacles and are gung ho to go!ReplyDelete
you can do it!
and when i did camp nano, i finished my draft w/ only 42k. but i didnt fail, i finished! and am happily editing!
deadlines motivate me like a dare...i wont let them get the best of me!
Deadlines usually have me running in the opposite direction, it'll be interesting to see how far away from home I am at the end of November!!Delete
Good luck with NaNo. I keep saying I'll do it but life keeps getting in the way. Maybe next year *sigh*. I'm always getting into chats about chocolate on Twitter. Wonder what percentage of tweets are about eating chocolate. There's a statistic for someone to work out... or not!ReplyDelete
Some social media seem designed for certain things - chocolate belongs on them all :-)Delete
I've participated for several years and hope to do so this year--as long as things settle down in my life and I can come up with an idea. :)ReplyDelete
I have a title and someone in a coma, but apart from that I have nothing at all - I'm hoping my muse is up for the challenge and doesn't choose November to have a toddler tantrum!Delete
I did Camp NaNoWriMo in August, over 19 days of actual writing I managed 51k words mixed in with a lot of research...I loved the story finding me as opposed to my previous WIP where I'm using an outline. Long live the pantsers...LOL!ReplyDelete
I'm impressed! Only 19 days... I've broken out in a cold sweat :-)Delete
I knew I couldn't write every day so on the days I was on a roll, I wrote as much as possible. Helps me to know I can do it...and took the pressure off surprisingly. Toughest thing was starting....I had a setting, a couple of characters and a dead body. That was it!Delete
This time around I have a prequel that I've self-pubbed and everyone has been asking me to expand it. So I'll try to make a novella out of it. May not hit 50k, maybe will. My Camp Nano book is over 62k and I still have another 10k or so to go to finish it. LOL!
Good luck! I haven't done nano, but I have friends who have and they like the challenge.ReplyDelete
Thanks Cherie, I'm going to need lots of luck :-)Delete
Best wishes in the challenge! You can do it!ReplyDelete
Thanks Gossip Girl. I'm not as certain, but I'll try to think more positively over the next month!Delete
It's something I'm seriously considering this year Annalisa. I love the statistics you give. Though a lot enter, the statistics show that many don't complete it, so I wouldn't feel like a complete failure if I didn't.ReplyDelete
Wishing you lots of luck with it. I may see you there!
I know, 14% was a lot lower than I imagined. It made me wonder why I'd put it off for so long - I think I expected it to be above 75%. It would be fun to have you around too, go for it!Delete
Good luck with Nano! I'm sure you'll do fine. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks Libby - fingers crossed!Delete
Nano is a great motivator to get a first draft down. You know what happens if you don't win at Nano?? NOTHING. You know what happens if you do win?? NOTHING. lolReplyDelete
Seriously, it's no big deal. Just use it as a fun way to get started and if you complete a first draft, well then you're that much closer to having another story finished. I did it two years in a row. Not doing it this time tho.
Good luck!! :)
Lol - you're right, nothing happens. But I'd so much rather say I was a winner than a participant. I am just hoping to get the next project started - anything more will be a huge bonus, especially because I'm usually so slow.Delete
I have never done NaNo. Mainly because, in a country where the school year ends at the beginning of December, November is possibly THE most insane month of the entire year. Not the best time to try and squeeze in a 50,000 word novel!ReplyDelete
I can see that. December is such a sensible time to end the school year!Delete