Monday, November 2, 2009

The Insanity that is NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo?

From the NaNoWriMo 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.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

On NanoWrimo

This appeared at Maria Schneider's Editor Unleashed website on November 21, 2008:

Nano is…

by Becke Martin

NaNo is panic, followed by sleepless nights, dreaming of your characters, and waking up in the middle of the night (if you aren’t still up writing) to jot down notes for the next scene.

NaNo is making friends, or getting to know old ones better, as you rediscover highs and lows you thought vanished with Clearasil many years ago. (In my case, many, many years ago!)

NaNo is coming up with long ways to say short things, as in this quote from our NaNo loop:
“Dumb as a stump” = 4 words. “Dumb as a box of rocks” = 6 words.

NaNo is sprints, challenges, silly word-use contests, plots that make no sense (Plot? Yours has a plot?), characters who don’t know what they’re doing—much less why—and often live with names like “Hero” and “Heroine” for way too many pages.

NaNo is forming a close, warm relationship with your computer chair, which you sincerely hope will not grow around your butt like that gross toilet-seat story we all read about this summer.

NaNo is rarely cleaning your house (OK, never) during the month of November, considering serving your family Swanson’s Hungry Man Turkey Dinners for Thanksgiving, and wondering what new position you can come up with to keep your husband from a) killing you or b) moving out before the end of the month.

NaNo is wishing someone would invent a waterproof laptop so you can write down the great ideas that come to you in the shower and vanish the second you sit down at your computer.

NaNo is wondering if it’s worth disconnecting your desktop and bringing it out of town with you because, even though you have a flash drive, you still don’t have a laptop.

NaNo is learning that you must back up your story every night. Let’s say that again: Back. It. Up. Every. Damn. Night. Because, in my buddy group alone, two people lost a total of about six thousand words.

NaNo is learning to appreciate the recuperative properties of alcohol, as well as caffeine of all kinds. And chocolate. Especially chocolate.

NaNo is discovering that a lot of freaking weird people are living in your head, and every one of them wants to be in this story.

NaNo is hitting the wall and not being able to write a single damn word, coherent or not.

NaNo is sitting back down at the computer, anyway, and forcing yourself to start writing again.

NaNo is going back to your support groups, again and again, to find the strength to keep pushing forward. And gaining a greater appreciation of all your buddies who are doing this in spite of flu, full time jobs, crashing computers and little children.

NaNo is thinking you are writing a romance, only to end up with a suspense story about werewolves, only not really.

NaNo is hitting 40K and thinking maybe—just maybe—you’re going to be able to pull this thing off after all.

Becke Martin can be found here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Want to join the mass insanity? Here's a link to the NaNoWriMo website:

Add me as a writing buddy:


Becke Davis said...

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