Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Daily Stats:

Words: some
Caffeine: morning cup + mid-morning cappuccino
Evil Calories: chocolate croissants
Reality TV: Rachel Zoe Project

Only two and a half weeks until the insanity that is NaNoWriMo. I wish I could talk everyone I know into partaking - even my non-writery friends. It's crazy (and I do mean crazy) fun, and the more people around you participating in the utter madness, the less you feel like you're going to have a total brown out. (Plus, you can do nifty things, like create and post your own book cover that your super-talented husband made for you.)

For those who are interested (or haven't a clue what I'm talking about)...

National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

I'll admit that my NaNo piece from last year is collecting dust bunnies in my "poo lives" folder on my computer. But, it was my first venture after completing my book and I needed to simply think about something else. And if anything, NaNo is just a bust-ass creative brainiac work out. Will you want to tear your own arm off and beat yourself to death with it? Oh, yes. Will there be weeping, whimpering and several bad hair days due to lack of time to shower? Without a doubt. So, follow the link and sign up! It's free (though I highly recommend making a contribution. Insanity like this can't be completely free.). And then once you sign up, you'll get hooked on the forums immediately. Don't try and fight it. It happens to everyone. But before you get sucked into a NaNoWriMo Ate My Soul thread, add me as a buddy here!

(My NaNo secret? I'm all about the word sprints, baby! There's truly nothing like convoluted crap spewing from you at break neck speed.)


Elizabeth said...

Oh baby.
You almost have me convinced.
Does it have to be from scratch? Can you pick up a piece you are already started on?
You do make it sound like fun and that cover of yours looks very cool (kudos to husband).
My reservation stems from the fact that my next piece I want to work on is memoir-ish and I don't want to write a bunch of crap on it. I really want it to be good. I don't want to file it under 'poo' after.
Your thoughts?

Vivi Alden said...

Well, I'm going to be working on my WIP, which is already 15K words in progress. I can't count those first 15K words in the 50K goal, but anything I write toward it after Nov. 1st will count.

The whole NaNo thing is really self-policing, so you can pretty much write what you want. They don't have people who check your work or anything. It's all by the honor system. And there are many writers who have had their NaNo novels published (after much editing, mind you) so it's not all crap in the long run. This is just a way to get the rough, rough, rough draft out. Rough drafts are often poo, which is good because you can see what works and what doesn't work right away.

My piece from last year is dwelling in my "poo lives" folder only because I moved on to my current WIP, but it's something that I think could come together at some point. And I have 50K words of it done!

It's a tough call. If you're feeling delicate towards your memoir, I'd hate for the whole idea to be ruined by NaNo. But at the same time, you may end up writing it exactly the way it was supposed to come out. Or, you could always wait on the memoir for another month and try something different for NaNo. I can't say enough about the experience. You will want to scream and throw things, but it's such a great creative work out.

Plus, we can buddies!!!

Carrie Harris said...

I'm not going to be able to NaNo this year, but I'll wear my shirt with pride. Yeah, I have a NaNo shirt. I am a big geek. This surprises you? :)

Big Plain V said...

I don't think I can Nano either. It sounds like I'll be deeply embroiled in revisions. It sucks because I have a super good idea all plotted out, and I was really looking forward to doing some actual writing again.

(I'm gonna keep myself signed up, cuz maybe I'll get a chance to work on it on the sly.)

Big Plain V said...

Way cool cover, by the way. Would that be the 'fronts' of the heels we're always seeing the 'backs' of?

Amy Ellis said...

Hey, can I borrow those shoes?

You rocked it out on Nano last year, and your creation was not poo! I'm sure there will be more magic this November.