NaNoWriMo: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

It’s official: I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I’m thoroughly convinced I made the right decision. Thinking about a different story with new characters and settings has been like a breath of fresh air in my writing life. I’m already chomping at the bit to start writing, and it’s only August! Luckily, time goes by fast, and November will be here before I know it.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not quite comprehending what I’m getting into, though. In order to complete a 50,000 word novel in just one month, I’ll have to write about 1,666 words a day–that’s about the size of one of my short stories, or three long blog posts. That’s a good chunk of writing, but it doesn’t seem hugely unmanageable. That view will probably change on November 1st, when undoubtedly I’ll feel like I’ve been writing for ages then look down to see the word counter hovering somewhere around 937 (a completely arbitrary number, by the way.) Seasoned NaNo-ers, please tell me about your experience with the event. I know it’s going to be tough, and I feel I’m prepared, but just how prepared do I have to be?

Well, whether I’m really up to the challenge or not, I’m going to take it on. I’ve signed up at the NaNoWriMo website; if you’d like, you can add me as a buddy–I’m hopelesscrowmantic. I have some ideas for my novel, and more are cropping up every day. My characters are already starting to get away from me, and I haven’t even written anything about them yet. Is this a good sign? I hope so.

Do you have any advice or warnings to offer? Or is it better for me to take a tumbleweed approach?

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9 responses to “NaNoWriMo: I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

  1. YES! Wait, what did you say in the post? I only read the first sentence.
    Okay… I have just added you as a writing buddy and sent you a NaNoMail. (By extension, this means I read the post– I had to learn your username.)
    As for tips… Well, find a daily goal and make the time for it. Personally, I can manage 4k in about 2.5 hours. This gets me done with the wordcount goal way earlier than I want to, as long as I can meet the miniature goal each day. Next, just don’t stop. Think of your novel as a runaway train; it’s going full steam ahead and won’t stop no matter what is put in front of it. Casualties may occur, but that’s collateral damage. Next– and this one is huge– admit to yourself that this novel is worse than anything else you’ve written, except perhaps that Hello Kitty fanfiction you wrote in kindergarten. November is for ridding yourself of everything horrible in one swell foop– ah, spoonerisms. When you leave November, you’ll still want to write, but you’ll want to write something better.
    And that, my dear, is the end of my horrible writing tips. Come back next time for what to do if that runaway train throws you off and starts coming at you. (Hint: scream and cower; you’ll soon be in that cemetery you love so much.)

  2. I guess I’m “seasoned”, having tried the November NaNoWriMo for the past 3 years. I’ve never reached even 25,000 words, but I keep trying. The social aspects (write-ins and forums) make it a unique experience. Do as much as you can, push yourself if you can, and focus on the flow instead of the goal. The freedom to fail — and to write gobs of bad prose that no one need ever see — is liberating.

  3. I finished my first NaNoWriMo last year with 53 000 words about 5 days early. I shot for 2000 words each day and had a rough outline and a book full of post it’s with writing prompts. If you have your character sketches done it is easier to imagine on the fly what they would do. That worked for me last year. I am using camp nano now to revise my first draft so I am ready for November. I think this year I am going to be a “pantster”. Good luck to you and don’t stress, it’s fun!

  4. I always fly by the seat of my pants, with only a few random notes about my story jotted down on multiple scraps of paper, which I always end up losing… 😛

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