Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What on Earth is NaNo?

For the uninitiated, you're probably wondering what on earth NaNo is, so we'd better start with that. NaNo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo (to be referred to as simply NaNo for the remainder of this post) occurs every November. Per the organizations website

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
This will be the 10th year for NaNo. I first learned of the contest when I joined back in 2006. I was too late to join the fray, but was enthusiastic enough that I attempted to do the same thing the following January. Due to a variety of circumstances, I was unable to meet the 50K goal, but I came close. I know several authors who have participated, successfully, in NaNo, and love it, and will be participating this November.

With NaNo, you write to help chase away writer's block. You don't edit. You just write. Every day. In order to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you must commit to writing 1,666.67 words a day. If you decide to take one day off for worship a week, than number jumps to 1,923.07 words a day.

Oh my gosh,
you're thinking. That's crazy! I can't do that!

Oh, yes you can. All you need to do is put your mind to it, tell yourself you WILL write X number of words a day. Start an outline, do a few character sketches. Read other novels (or even writing prompt books) for inspiration. What matters is that you put the effort in. You may not make it. But, as long as you try and honestly put the effort into it, it really doesn't matter if you write 10,000 words or 100,000. You still tried. You're that much closer to having your novel done!

As for your faithful hostess, I haven't decided yet if I'll participate this year. I want to. Desperately. But, with a toddler in the house, I kind of need both baby and daddy's cooperation in the matter. But, in preparation, I've begun an outline for my next project, and I know quite a bit about my main characters already. As the days dwindle down, I'll make my decision, and who knows? Maybe I'll try to fit 2,000 words in during naps. (I don't think I'm motivated enough to get up at 4 AM, and hubby probably won't let me stay up 'til 1 AM--heck, I don't even know if I could stay up that late if I wanted to--not without lots of caffeine and a nap!)

If you do decide to participate, leave a comment here and let me know what your handle is over at That way we can connect and help keep each other accountable. If not, be sure to check in here throughout the month. If I do decide to participate, I'll post periodic updates on how my novel is progressing, my word count, etc. (In other words, come here to cheer me on!!! I'll need it!)

To assist in making your decision, I've included the following links from I think may be helpful to you.

How NaNo Works
Using an outline
NaNoWriMo Blog

Until next time,


Tabitha Bird said...

All the best with the writing while you do this liberty. I am sure you'll do great. Me, I am in editing hell, um, bliss :) And need to focus on first baby for a while :)

Liberty Speidel said...

Thanks, Tabitha!

I've got to get my first baby done first, though. It takes priority. *sigh* NaNo will give me an opportunity to set it aside so I can come back to it in December with fresh eyes.

The problem is this baby has been languishing for over a year, so I need to get it done. :/ I think this draft is really my best work yet, so, hopefully, that means I'm close to being ready for publication. I hope, I hope, I hope!

Lorrie said...

Great post Liberty. I can't imagine actually attempting writing a novel! Makes me giggle just thinking about it. I usually write non-fiction, business and poetry.
I'm sure I must have a story in me that needs to be told though... Who knows, one day I may attempt it.

Be blessed!

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I'm really considering using NaNo as a push to get me through my current WIP. I may *pretend* to join and use all that energy to get the blasted thing done!


Liberty Speidel said...

Thanks, Lorrie & Elspeth! :)

@Lorrie, you can do it! I have complete faith in you!

@Elspeth, you're not the only author I've heard of considering this. Personally, I love the adrenaline kick that attempting something like this gives me. When I attempted this in January of 2007, I felt like I was running on adrenaline the whole time. :)

K.M. Weiland said...

I'm not a NaNoer. Never have been, and probably never will be. But I remain an enthusiastic fan of the event. It's helped so many people jump start their writing. So three cheers for all of you taking the plunge this November!

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