Gird Your Loins

I know I’ve talked about NanoWriMo before (last week in fact) but let me talk about it one more time. In 10 days NanoWriMo will once again take place. I will, once again, go into battle (with myself) and try to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. This will be my fourth year participating and last year I toiled with over 120,000 others.

So what is NanoWriMo?

As you may have guessed, the crux of NanoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. That equates to 1,667 words per day, every day for the month of November.

But is that ALL NanoWriMo represents? I think not.

NanoWriMo was started in 1999 by Chris Baty and some friends. They wanted to challenge themselves to write a novel in a month. That first challenge had 9 participants. As I mentioned earlier, last year the number of participants exceeded 120,000. Not bad for only 10-years, huh?

For the past few years, the NanoWriMo staff have worked to help other too. NanoWriMo is a free event, but you, the participant has the option to donate money to help keep the systems running. The residual is used to build libraries around the world, usually in poorer countries where literacy is difficult to attain.

Another program is the young writer’s program. Educators and individual young writers can sign up. For Educators, the NanoWriMo staff provide posters and learning materials to help students.

The Nano credo is “It’s about quantity, not quality”.

That is what NanoWriMo is right now and it is constantly evolving.

I’m guessing that the Nano credo might have caused a few raised eyebrows. After all, if you’re not worrying about the quality of your writing, why bother? There are a number of answers to that.

The biggest single thing I would say to it is, you can only edit what you’ve written. If it isn’t down on paper (or in electronic form) it’s pretty hard to work with.

So what do I personally get from it?

The first thing I got from Nano was the confidence that I can write a book. My first book took me almost 7 years to finish. My second (and shorter novel) took me 3 weeks. Was the second book any good? I’ve had two different publishers interested in it. I believe it will sell. I’ve since managed to write two more Nano Novels and another outside of Nano.

The second thing I got/get from Nano is a sense of community. I have a number of NanoBuddies, some of whom I only talk to during Nano. We share a common bond and I realize that I’m part of something much bigger. That is a very important lesson to learn; writing can feel so lonely and solitary.

The third thing I get from Nano is the mentoring aspect. There are always newer participants who are uncertain about the whole thing. I’m able to give my perspective and help them to move forward in their writing.

The fourth thing is I get another book finished. Yes, it requires editing, but so does every other book ever written. When I am done Nano this year, I’ll have three books in my YA series, “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero”. I have been advised by a friend that the big publishing houses are interested in series more than singles. This will give me a better product to sell.

The NanoWriMo staff provide an amazing interface to work with. It helps you to track your writing progress, connect with others and be part of the movement. They provide motivation and cheerleading to keep you going. You get inspirations from your fellows. It is a wonderful experience.

So, in 10 days I will be preparing for battle. I will go in and write my next book and I will have fun doing it (did I mention that my first NanoNovel was the most fun I’ve ever had writing?). ┬áIn the process I’ll meet some new people, reconnect with old friends and write like I’ve rarely written before. I encourage you to join me.

You can find out more about NanoWriMo at http://www.nanowrimo.org.

Personal Update

I have been made aware of two YA Novel Writing Contests. I will be entering both. I’m almost almost finished my fantasy novel edits (I will be done by Saturday). It will then be sent to my editor for review. Finally, I will be outlining my NanoNovel. Lots to do in the next few days.

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2 comments

  1. Hope to see you at the kickoff. (RSVP… we’ve got 60 people lined up to attend so far. I think the serving staff will start to rebel around the 9:05 mark)

    Remind me to let you know about my YA novel idea… it doth have potential…

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