Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Gearing Up for NaNoWriMo

Music Influence: “Once Upon a Nightmare” Nox Arcana (Grimm Tales, 2008)

This is your friendly wake up call. I know people have probably mentioned- even reminded you, faithful writer- that the time of the year when you have permanent office chair rear and consume more than your fair share of indulgent comfort foods is coming up soon. Not to alarm you, but November starts next Thursday. (Time flies when your fingers are glued to the keyboard. Or even when you're busy procrastinating.)

National Novel Writing Month starts November 1 and races onward like a mad man chasing sanity for 30 days or until you collapse. At 11:59 pm on November 30 you'll feel wore down, beat up but extremely proud of yourself regardless of the outcome.

NaNoWriMo- this means NaNoers will be writing in full force trying to rack up 50,000 words in 30 days. Sounds like an extraordinaire feat to some. (To most.) But never fear, I'm here to boost your confidence and next thing you know, you'll be signing your life away to NaNo for 30 days.

I'll admit, I was in that mass majority that thought 50,000 words in 30 days was insanity. It clearly is insane to attempt. You learn the true meaning of sleep deprivation in those last few days. Even when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, you dig deep down and find that tiny creative spark still lit and drive forward. NaNo is not about quality writing. We all strive to put every word down on the page that looks and reads like gold. But NaNo isn't about being perfect. It's about showing yourself you can do this. You can write a novel. You can put words down on a page. And you can use December (or January if you're me) to revise and scrap.

My first NaNo was an attempt to show myself I could write an original work of fiction. That I could devise my own characters and my own settings and I could write a story with them.

I did it.

It sucked. Totally sucked. Sucked golf balls. Sucked so bad it's buried somewhere on my external with no hope in sight of seeing light again.

The next year I went into NaNo with a lot of confidence that I could succeed again. And I failed to hit the 50k mark. I was already disheartened with my writing. I was disillusioned with my original characters and the idea I'd come up with to write. And once I got started, all my confidence slipped away and I floundered. I hit the wall early. I lost sight of my creative spark. I swore I'd never try NaNo again.

And I didn't. For two years, 2008 and 2009 I refused to do NaNo. My writing was suffering. I wasn't writing nearly enough or outlining an idea to write 50k in 30 days. Why would I even try when I knew I'd fail. And I would've failed. You can't go into NaNo telling yourself you're going to fail. Because there is no such thing as failing NaNo. All attempts to do NaNo should be celebrated. You've told yourself you're going to do it. You probably even write consistently for days on end. How can you say that's a failure? It's not, my dear writer.

I'm not even going to be in the country for the start of NaNo. I'm going to be a cheater and start a day early. But I'm still going to do NaNo. Because it's not about if I actually make it to the 50k. It's that I know I'll have my rear in a seat and my fingers on the keyboard for a whole month. Just like 2010 and just like last year. I'm going to do it because I need to- not because I have to. Tell yourself you need to write. You need to challenge yourself.

So here's the thing. I did this last year, I think we should do it again. NaNo can be intimidating. But we could do our own NaNo where the goal is 25k in 30 days. That's less than 1k a day. And there are going to be some days where 1k feels nearly impossible. That's okay. We all have those days. But this is about telling yourself you can do it. All those times when you feel less than adequate because you didn't write, there's no reason for that. You have a life. Life gets in the way some times. But let's all try to see the bright side of NaNo. Everyone who dedicates a whole month to writing- even those who've never really written before- is a winner.

Do it because you're a winner.

That's the extent of my pep talk of the year. Soak it up. Next time I post I'm gonna be putting my boot to your rear and super gluing your fingers to your wore out keyboard. Just FYI.

So tell me you're going to do the 25k mini NaNo challenge. Or tell me you've got balls and you're going over to NaNo headquarters and signing up right now to do the 50k NaNo-a-thon. Have you done NaNo before? Think those who do NaNo are crazy? Join us crazies! Do NaNo!

If you want to find me and friend me on NaNo's home: christietaylor


Sabrina Shields (Scapegoat) said...

Since I'll be traveling on a vacation over the week of Thanksgiving, I'm not committing to 50k full nano this year. The first year I attempted it I reached about 25k and it was the kick I really needed on my very first book.

The second time I gave up a few days in because work blew up.

This year I'm totally in for a 25k mini challenge! Thanks for the PepTalk!

Sin said...

Even the mini-challenge is a haul. Good luck with the 25k!

Jill Shalvis said...

You can do it! I'll be rooting you on, waiting on the sidelines with cookies as an incentive. :)

haleigh said...

I adore Nano. I think it's a wonderful way to motivate and make new writing friends. But for the second (okay, fine, it's the fourth) year in a row, I'm doing revisions that I need to finish, rather than starting something fresh for NaNo.

So I'll likely do a mini-version myself with some massive revisions goals (like finishing the damn book).

Excellent pep talk. The one year I really did try something fresh, I fizzled out just under 20k. So looking at it with the goal of being dedicated to writing, rather than hitting a magic number, is excellent for me

JulieJustJulie said...

Do it because you're a winner.
Do it because you're a Writer.

Do it Because even though you may know those things to be true in your heart ... Sometimes? You need to Actually see the words in your head written down.

TerriOsburn said...

I tried NaNo at least once, maybe twice. Think the most I got was 16K words in the month. Which back when I tried was really good for me.

But NaNo is not for me. However, I think it's an amazing challenge and cheer for anyone willing to take it on. I'm now in the bowels of editing book one while writing book 2 and book 1 has to be edited and done by November 27th.

So that will be my November. Two weeks editing, two weeks of writing. Another week of editing, a week of writing. Then final edits and back to writing to The End of book 2. As you can see, my butt WILL be in my chair, but word counts will be erratic and unpredictable. :)

MsHellion said...

Every time I sign up for NaNo, I bomb it. The most words I can write in a month are about 15,000--or a third of what is required.

My Butt will be writing, writing as much like the wind as I can make myself, because I have that other deadline in my head and the story needs to be done...but I can't commit to 50,000 in a month. I'll fail and quit and that will only make me angry. *LOL*

But I appreciate the pep talk. I always need a pep talk.

P. Kirby said...

Unfortunately, I'm taking the "ball-ess" option. I'd love to do NaNo, but right after Thanksgiving, I have a three-day art show and most of the month is spent in a frantic rush to make stuff to sell at said show.

I actually think I could do the 50K, if I just picked a no-stress project and hammered through it, ignoring the inner critic. Maybe some year when hubby and I don't do the art show.

But I'll be happy to do the cheerleader thing. *Waves pompoms*

TerriOsburn said...

I imagine Pat as one of those cheerleaders from Nirvana's Teen Spirit video. LOL!

Good luck with the art show!

Maureen said...

Right now I hate to committ to anything. Right now? Okay, like I hate to committ to anything ever. I applaud that NaNo-ers and think it's fabulous...though why in November with the holidays...why don't they do this in March? MaNoWiMo?

I'd like to finish my Sherlock story in November and edit book two of my Caribbean Spell books. I'm not sure if Sherlock is a short, a novella or whatever, so it's just write until I think it's done.

I'm not much for pom poms, but I can supply Gatorade shots, with rum.

P. Kirby said...

I imagine Pat as one of those cheerleaders from Nirvana's Teen Spirit video. LOL!


Marnee Bailey said...

I'm in for the mini-25K challenge. I need that for my first draft and if I"m going to make my goal of entering the GH, anyway. So I'm in!! :)

That would put me at a 65K first draft by end of month. I'm happy with that idea.

Great pep talk is right, though! Thanks!

Sin said...

I'm so glad to see people up for a little challenge next month! Regardless if it's writing new material or editing finished material, I know you guys are going to put the pedal to the metal and finish.