Who's doing NaNoWriMo 2021?

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Sage

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Some reasons a person might do NaNo (not an exhaustive list):

- the actual community (write-ins, plot-ins, word wars, artists making you play covers, dares, etc.)
- the feeling of community (we’re all working to the same(-ish) goal together!)
- the excitement of that build up to the day you’re going to start
- the motivation to sit down and work (just because one person is motivated year-round doesn’t mean everyone is)
- the ability to tell everyone that you’re not available to do anything but write…but it’s just for this month, okay?
- it’s only going to be a month, so you can try something new
- it’s only going to be a month, so you can write something you know isn’t going to sell, just for fun
- motivation to turn off that inner editor while drafting
- knowing how long you have to plot/outline/make maps/do character sketches/build playlists, etc. before it becomes procrastination (hint: on Nov 1, it’s procrastination)
- knowing that you better start thinking about a new novel because November is approaching when writing wasn’t on your radar at all
- it’s the only time some people give themselves permission to try writing
- for the shiny badges rewarding you for a certain number of words
- for the NaNo swag
- for the odd looks you get telling people that you’re doing “NaNoWriMo”
- so you can sing the NaNoWriMo song (
)

Okay, the last few are just perks, not reasons to do it. But still, some people find it fun and/or motivating. Others don’t, & that’s cool too.
 

Sage

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Oh, hey, that’s new (the video popping up, not linking)
 

Maggie Maxwell

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Sage is wise, as her name implies. All writers are different. Some can dedicate a day-job's worth of time to it every day. Other people have jobs and kids and school and other hobbies and chores and all sorts of things that get in the way of just writing. After all, even for writers, there's more to life than putting pen to paper. NaNoWriMo is an outside motivator that gives people permission, from themselves, their families, their other obligations to spend one month a year going, "I am writing. I have a goal, I have a deadline. This is what comes first." I can spend all year telling myself, "Just do it. Write another novel," but telling myself to do it isn't the same as being told, "You have a month, you have 50k to go" from SOMETHING else. I work better with deadlines. It's just how I am, and NaNo is a project with a deadline. Thus, I do NaNo, and I have four finished novels, two finished novellas, and six novels in progress to show for it. If I didn't do NaNo, I'd have nothing but short stories, because I can churn out short stories every day. Novels, I need more to push through. Until I get an agent that can breathe down my neck going "Give me more," I need NaNo. And besides, it's just fun. Look at all the other NaNo threads here where we're sharing lines, counts, forging a community within a community and enjoying the event with each other. This doesn't happen any other time of the year in any of the other subforums.
 

Nether

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I must admit I don't understand the lure of the WriMos, or why experienced writers such as the AW members who have posted in this thread feel they need something like this as an incentive to create something new. I mean, I can't be the only one who has a proverbial desk drawer full of story treatments, brief or full synopses, chapter outlines, character experiments and what have you that I can dip into whenever I feel like it - and I do, often.

There's the community aspect of it, for starters. Keep in mind that Brandon Sanderson is participating this year, so even fame isn't a disqualifying factor.

While I don't "need" it for incentive (in that I write every day anyway and keep what might be considered aggressive schedules), I hadn't managed to do it during Novembers in the past so -- to crib an action movie slogan -- this time it's personal.

Why push everything else aside for an entire month while getting an ulcer and wearing out the keyboard to write something that'll need six months of editing afterwards because it was far too rushed?

NaNo (in theory) has no real impact on my normal pace. Not counting short stories, my October was 86k words, my September was 77.5k words, my August was 91k words, and my July was 128k words. However, the last time I tried NaNo, I think I only sat at 20-30k words.

And it's not like writing more slowly has ever produced a better result for me. I don't magically get away from editing by writing slowly. The first manuscript I finished (102k words) took 3-4 months and it's almost certainly in worse shape than the one I finished in 31 days (95k words). Even the one I finished in under 20 days (88k words) was probably in a better starting shape than that first novel... and the second one, too.

In fact, I suspect that slower writing could result in more issues for me, not fewer, since it becomes harder to remember continuity and maintain a consistent tone from start to finish.

Wouldn't it be a better use of our energy and enthusiasm to just sit down and write the darn thing whenever we feel like it? I honestly don't get it.

I could understand that criticism more if somebody wasn't writing in October so they could focus on writing in November -- because at that point they're losing out on writing time -- but I don't see an issue beyond that.

I see "whenever we feel like it" as being an issue when somebody is delaying writing, not when somebody is proactively writing. In my case, if I had finished the first draft for my last novel sooner (unless it was just 2-3 days or something), there's a good chance I would have just started the next book. If I finished it later, I would have just "started" NaNo later.

However, NaNo is what helped me build the habit in the first place because "whenever I felt like it" hadn't worked for me, in that I hadn't finished drafting a single manuscript in the previous decades, so I suppose I may have something of an emotional attachment to the ethos embodied by NaNoWriMo (if that makes any sense).
 
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Sage

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I missed the question about editing, but I'm happy to say that I have a lot of experience in writing for both NaNo and not NaNo because I used to draft 2 novels a year (sadly, now I'm lucky to finish 1). For my own experience, the amount of time I spent editing didn't depend on how fast I wrote a novel. The scene I agonized over for a month might need as much work as the one I spit out in a day because I didn't have time to agonize over it. For others, they may spend so much time "fixing" during the first draft that they never get a finished first draft, and never get to the point of actually editing a full novel. Some people don't know where the novel is going (or how it's going to get there) during the drafting phase, and couldn't know that they needed to fix X, Y, and Z at the time, and so the time spent editing still might be the same. All those people have done is moved up the timeline on when they start.

But that might not be true of everyone (or even every book for NaNo fans), and that's why NaNo's not right for everybody.
 

Tamlyn

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I work well with deadlines, it's fun doing it when everyone else is, and I find the graphs and bar filling up on the NaNo site very satisfying. It's that simple.

Sure, my first draft from NaNo is messy. So is the first draft I take a year to write because that's how I draft. Some people write clean or edit as they go; I'm not one of them.

I have never gotten an ulcer from doing NaNo.
 

Norsebard

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Thank you for your input, everybody :)


Lundgren said:
Personally, I want to get to know other people that likes to write. So, hanging out (even if it's virtual this year) with a bunch of others, is one way to do it (...)

Now I definitely understand that part. Writing can be a lonely trade, especially for those of us who live a good distance from the hot spots.


Not really understanding it is also a reason I'm doing it this year. While it might not be for me, I might still pick something up that can be useful for me later.

Mmmm! Food for thought...



Sage - That's a great list of reasons.


Maggie Maxwell - :)


Nether said:
Keep in mind that Brandon Sanderson is participating this year (...)

Just to prove how far out of the loop I am... I, uh... had to look him up as I had never heard of him.


But anyway, thank you all very much for sharing your thoughts on the matter!


Norsebard
 

Sage

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The first time someone mentioned Brandon Sanderson as an example of a famous author, I also had to look him up. :ROFL: (I seem to recall having difficulty. Maybe it was misspelled) But now I’ve seen his books around.

In other news, because this has sort of become a general update thread, I’m excited to say I had full-on envisioned scenes pop into my head last night. Sadly this was because of a coughing fit at 2 am, & it prolly kept me up way longer than if I hadn’t been watching these scenes unfold in my brain, but it was very exciting because that hasn’t happened for a book while I’m writing it in a while.
 
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Lundgren

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Just to prove how far out of the loop I am... I, uh... had to look him up as I had never heard of him.
I didn't know about him either a few months ago, so you're not alone about being out of the loop in that regard. I stumbled over a class on writing he held over at a university or college, and it's available on youtube. As he is of the school of thoughts that there is no true way, so he says how he personally do things, and a bunch of suggestions on other ways to do it, I like them a lot and can highly recommend them.
 

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Who's going to Nano this year?
I think I'll finally give it a go. I have three WIPs but since I'm confronting some hardcore writer's block, I think it might be a good idea to turn my thoughts to something completely different. Perhaps a different genre? I generally write mysteries with a paranormal element, but I think an all-out comedy or a kids book might be an interesting challenge for me. Has anyone ever used NaNoWriMo to explore a different genre or style or to get out of a frustrating block?
 
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Nether

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Just to prove how far out of the loop I am... I, uh... had to look him up as I had never heard of him.

I don't really fault you for that. While he's kind of a big name these days (and I'm surprised by the number of places either his name or his books come up), it's a more recent thing.

A bizarre case-in-point was how in October/November 2020 I asked my brother -- who keeps a lot more current with fantasy than I do -- what he knew about him (because a few YT channels I followed brought him up, which led me to checking out some of his YT lectures). He'd never heard of him, and then when my brother visited December 2020, he'd become a huge fan (while forgetting we had our conversation just a month or two earlier).

I went from not really being familiar with him (where the only recognition I had was the Wheel of Time, a series I never got into but I read at least part the first book decades ago) to seeing his novels mentioned in places I wouldn't expect to see fantasy novels brought up at all. And you'll see him mentioned by various people on this website because of his writing advice.

The first time someone mentioned Brandon Sanderson as an example of a famous author, I also had to look him up.

I blame the fact that none of his work has been adapted so far.
 
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RaiscaraAvalon

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Has anyone ever used NaNoWriMo to explore a different genre or style or to get out of a frustrating block?
All the time. That's part of what is fun about the challenge - it's 30 days to try something different, and if it doesn't work, it's only 30 days. Not years of beating your head into a wall trying to produce something.
 
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Sage

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Oh, yeah, the first several years I committed to trying something new each time: pantsing, adult, sci-fi, first-person present, contemporary, prequel, chapter books, paranormal…after that I think I was stretching on the “new” thing.
 
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Snitchcat

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I've been doing NaNo unofficially for a few years now -- I have no time for the official version. Did "complete" back in the day, though. ^_^

Right now, just writing as I can. It's good to get words down.