Every November, tons of writers and would-be-writers set out to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The concept is simple: in the span of one month, write a 50,000-word novel.
While many flock to this concept as a way to have an ultra-productive November, some writers resist. For example, I find the forced word count of NaNoWriMo causes me to write junk just to fulfill the word count. And that is not particularly helpful if you want to write a good novel.
If NaNo just isn’t your thing, yet you’d still like to take November and use it as a month for productivity, I thought I’d offer some alternatives to NaNoWriMo. Continue reading “Some Alternatives to NaNoWriMo”
I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month nearly every year since 2004. A couple of my favorite stories have resulted from it, including Don’t Tell Anyone. And since I had to overcome a ton of obstacles to “win” that first NaNoWriMo challenge, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment from pulling it off. I still have the certificate tacked to a bulletin board in my kitchen. Yeah, I know. After a certain age, that’s kinda-sorta pathetic, but it’s my kinda-sorta pathetic, so it’s staying.
Considering what was going on in my life during that first try — an uber-demanding full-time job, family stress, houseguests, a double mastectomy for my mother-in-law — I had no business taking on the added responsibility of hitting the daily word quota to produce something resembling a story. And while the writing was one of my more enjoyable tasks, and an opportunity to escape for an hour and a half or so every day, it took its toll on my health, and I spent half of December recovering.
But I learned from that lesson. Maybe that’s part of the reason the certificate is still on display. It’s a reminder to take care with my commitments. I’m pretty good at juggling — little round objects as well as responsibilities — but if I have too many balls in the air, odds are that one of them is going to succumb to the laws of gravity. Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Losing NaNoWriMo”
Time’s up! Put your pencils down. NaNoWriMo is over. So let’s look back on the past month. Raise your hand if you participated this year. Hmmm. I didn’t. Maybe I should have … if I had participated, I would have missed out on: Continue reading “Writers Be Like: Phew, Is It December Yet?”
If you’re wondering why there’s a sudden dearth of writers posting grammar and bacon memes on Facebook this week, you can probably blame NaNoWriMo. Now expanded world-wide and not just for November anymore, National Novel Writing Month was the brainchild of Chris Baty and a few of his friends. These San Francisco writers challenged each other to write a 50K novel (more accurately, a first draft) during one November and the idea stuck. Many writers already hit this quota on a regular basis; some write even more. But if you’ve wanted to attempt a longer story, or if you want to get back into a butt-to-chair routine, the NaNoWriMo challenge could be the perfect exercise for you. Continue reading “How to Sharpen Your Writing Process with NaNoWriMo”