For those of you who aren’t writers, or aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, this post is to inform, inspire, and share my experience thus far.
NaNoWriMo (pronounced nă-nō-RĪ-mō) stands for National Novel Writing Month. I first heard of this when I read Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt in January 2010. At that time I had no interest, hope, or plan to ever draft a book in a month, but I read it because I was looking for a breakdown of the writing tasks involved in writing a novel. Prior to this, my writing consisted of articles, essays, research papers, journals, and a short story. I wanted to put my imaginary worlds on paper for others to read, but felt extremely inept at tackling a project so large and so outside my non-fiction experience.
It wasn’t until I went to dinner with a few friends from the writers’ guild last month that I seriously considered attempting this challenge. Liz asked if any of us were doing it. I asked more questions. Pat said she had done it, and shared how she broke the challenge into smaller daily goals. I smiled and nodded thinking how nice for them. But later that night, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head. I needed more information.
The next day I googled NaNoWriMo, found their website (www.nanowrimo.org) with a lot of information and encouragement. I learned that there are local groups meeting up virtually through Facebook and Google+, as well as meeting up in real life to write at local coffee shops, restaurants, and libraries. I also found a lot of information on YouTube. The videos were entertaining, offering the pros and cons of this challenge, and most of them displayed a great sense of humor.
So, I thought and researched some more. I came to the conclusion that I have nothing to lose. If I accomplish the challenge, I will have a 50,000 word draft of a novel. If I don’t accomplish the goal, I will still have more words on the page than I do now. It costs nothing to accept the challenge, so it is truly a win-win. I put a NaNoWriMo widget to the right of my blog so everyone can see my progress—or lack thereof.
Today is day two. I met my first day’s goal yesterday, writing 2072 words and completing a chapter. I have enjoyed meeting new people online through the local Facebook page. I am planning to attend a “write-in” next week to meet some of my new friends in person. I love that most of the people attempting this challenge are serious about their writing, but humorous, self-deprecating, and encouraging in their interactions with each other. Since writing can be a very lonely enterprise, it is refreshing to write within a community. Writers are posting (on Facebook, Twitter, the NaNoWriMo forums, Google+, blogs, etc.) to share their accomplishments, encourage others, give advice to newbies, problem solve, and to productively procrastinate.
Now, back to my novel ☺