I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year.
There. I’ve said it. It’s out there and so now I’ve got to finish it. Gulp!
What Is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo, stands for National Novel Writers Month. Here’s the scoop from the NaNoWriMo About page:
“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel.”
I learned about NaNoWriMo a few years ago when I started following writers and authors on social media. It intrigued me, but I’m not a novel writer.
Then I learned about the NaNoWriMo Rebels. “Rebel WriMos” have no intention of writing a novel in November; they just hang out with the novelists–the Regular WriMos–and work on their own non-novel writing projects. Those projects might be a work of non-fiction, magazine articles, personal essays, short stories, or blogs, like Whoop Jenny.
Once I realized there was a path for a rebel like me (never have been one to go off-trail…), I signed up.
Why Am I Doing NaNoWriMo?
I’m committing to writing 50,000 words this month not because I want to write more, but because I want to write better.
Since starting Whoop Jenny in June, I have had no shortage of ideas or things to talk about. But I think I’m leaving a lot on the table, unwritten.
When I sit down to write a post, I put only as much thought and words into it as I think would work for a blog. There are topics I want to explore more deeply.
The 50,000-word commitment to NaNoWriMo is just the incentive I need to get all my words out. It’s sort of like committing to squeezing all of the toothpaste out of the tube before throwing it away.
Committing to getting out all my words on a topic results in a secondary issue–how to arrange those layers of thoughts into a coherent piece.
50,000 words in 30 days is 1,677 words a day. Let’s say I devote a day’s writing session to a single topic. If I have an entire runway of 1,677 words to say what’s on my mind every day, how do I wrangle and sort those words into a highly readable piece?
I think most WriMos–regular and rebels–hope to have a finished piece by the end of November.
I just want practice and insight on how to take my writing to the next level. It would be a happy side-effect to have a pipeline of content so I can post more consistently.
How I’m Doing NaNoWriMo
Here’s another way I’m a WriMo Rebel—I’m hand-writing my 50,000 words. I have a regular, college-ruled spiral notebook that I write in. After each writing session, I count my words and enter them manually into the tracker on the NaNoWriMo website.
I write most days, trying to keep a daily average production of 1,677 words.
Usually, I can meet my daily goal by writing on a single topic. Sometimes a topic will be good for several sessions. Once in awhile, I’ll realize I have more words about a topic that I thought I had exhausted in a previous session.
All this is good information as I learn how I write.
If and when I get to 50,000 words in November, I will be what’s called a “NaNoWriMo Winner.” I get a badge on my profile on the NaNoWriMo web page.
That’s it. There’s no medal. No prize money. No sponsorship or book deal. Just bragging rights.
Fortunately, that’s enough to motivate me.
How Is It Going, You Ask?
It’s day 17 and I’m more than half-way to my 50,000-word goal.
The post you’re reading now was drafted on November 11, in a session where I wrote 1,300 handwritten, unedited words. Only about 700 words from that session will make it into this post. I lost some words because of editing; and I’m saving some words for other posts.
Stay tuned….I plan to post more about my NaNoWriMo efforts.