Do You NaNo?

National Novel Writing Month is upon us! For years I’ve watched my friends and fellow-writers type themselves ragged during November. And while I’ve been a little envious of the tens of thousands of words they wrote that month, I comforted myself with the thought that NaNo was prioritizing quantity over quality, and while maybe I wasn’t writing four or five thousand words a day, certainly the teensy trickle of fiction I managed to produce was much more polished. But between you and me? I wasn’t writing enough fiction to bother polishing. Polish, elegance, articulation, writing beautiful words? None of those are actually a concern unless we’re producing a fairly significant number of words in the first place.

November 2010 will mark the twelfth NaNoWriMo event. Originally a Bay-area event started by a bunch of friends, NaNoWriMo is now a rather huge online extravaganza. From their History page:

I think the scene—full of smack-talk and muffin crumbs on our keyboards—would have rightly horrified professional writers. We had taken the cloistered, agonized novel-writing process and transformed it into something that was half literary marathon and half block party.

We called it noveling. And after the noveling ended on August 1, my sense of what was possible for myself, and those around me, was forever changed. If my friends and I could write passable novels in a month, I knew, anyone could do it.

The goal of NaNo is to write. Write every day in November. Write a LOT every day. Write with abandon. Write as hard and as fast as you can, without censoring yourself, editing yourself, or holding yourself back—and without taking yourself so terribly seriously that you cripple your own creative process. That tends to be one of my own weaknesses, especially when it comes to writing fiction.

So this year, I’ve signed up for my very first NaNo. I’m challenging myself to commit, get serious, and produce some words.

How about you? Up for NaNo? Done it before? Doing it again? Curious enough at least to go read about How It Works? If I can make the time and take the challenge, I know you can. See you there?

Author: MacAllister Stone

Owner and Editor-in-chief of AbsoluteWrite and CoyoteWild.

10 thoughts on “Do You NaNo?”

  1. Can’t wait! It is exhilarating. Last year was my first time and it was an awesome experience. It snaps you out of your inhibitions to write with wild abandon. It trains your brain to write with more ease on a daily basis. You will be surprised once you start your mind gets used to it, you’re always thinking about it, and the story flows more naturally then you would expect. When it’s done, and you actually have time to look at it, I bet you will find it isn’t the piece of crap you thought it would turn out to be. Honest! What you’re doing is training your brain to look at writing as part of your daily routine, to the point where it just does it.

    There are forum boards on the NaNoWriMo site as well as NaNo threads here at AW for support. When I looked around the boards at NaNo I found it inspiring how many teens took up the challenge.

    Tell people you’re doing it. Sure at first they will think you are crazy, but if you start putting your word count on post-its on the fridge, at work, on facebook etc. those who thought you were nuts will see the count growing and start asking, “How many words are you up to?” or “How’s the story going?”

    Check the NaNo forums and see if there is a NaNo regional write in for your area. If not maybe at least a couple other people close to you doing it. We had a couple in my area. You can sit together at a coffee shop or bookstore. I put a little sign next to me at our local bookstore and on my desk at work that said, “National Novel Writing Month. The goal? To write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.” The “Holy crap! Really?” comments will motivate you.

    I work in a county government office (I’m a Asst. County Historian.)I was writing a mystery for last NaNoWriMo. I came into work and one of the sheriff’s had come in before I got there and put crime scene tape all around my work area, everywhere! If you make a big deal out of it, so will others around you. You know why? Because it is a big deal! It’s like anything else in life. If you show your enthusiasm it will be infectious and others will cheer you forward.

  2. Nah. I don’t think I’m going to do it. I tried it once before in either ’08 or ’09 and was an abysmal failure. Not in the I-didn’t-get-enough-words-written-by-the-30th kind of failure, but the I-didn’t-get-beyond-the-second-or-third-day failure.I’m one of the ones still wondering if I am really a writer. *shrugs* But I admire those who do it and do it well.

  3. I did NaNo last year and had a blast! I didn’t make it to 50,000, but I most certainly plan on trying again this year.

    Here’s to endless pages and many cups of caffeinated beverages!

  4. I don’t see myself doing it anytime soon. But I’ll be rooting for you. You have a built in army of cheerleaders here at the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Good luck!

  5. I’m in. I did my first last year, and managed to finish it by the skin of my teeth. With a lot less time available to write this year, it will definitely be a challenge.

    Here’s to caffiene, book shops and write-ins!

  6. This time last year I thought writing was only done by person who was being punished by their mean 8th grade English teacher. I am 43 and just found it, she was right, writing is fun. I still think she was mean though. But I digress.

    I didn’t know about this before reading your post. I am going to give it a go. I write my blog every day, as it is, so I think I should be able to manage the challenge. It also looks fun. I am so glad I found your site. 🙂

  7. Anne’s just told me you’re joining the crazy this year! Just a heads up – things like NaNo are the reason I’ve turned into a person who will eat food she dropped on a floor. But it’s worth it – and I bet you’ll write more quality in a timecrunch than you expect!

  8. This is my second NaNo. Last year’s is being released April 1, 2011 as the first book of a YA series Seraphym Wars. This year I’m writing a YA Dystopian Romance. This is my first Dystopian anything and it’s been a real challenge. Sometimes I feel like I’m pulling healthy teeth dragging it out of my head. But it’s a great challenge and I’ll do it again next year.

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