Monday, November 2, 2015

National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo

It's November and that means NaNoWriMo! That's National Novel Writing Month, a virtual worldwide writing group that helps you achieve the goal of completing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. According the official website, "NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel." 

As noted on my 2010 blog post about NaNoWriMo:
"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."

Here's how to get started at NaNoWriMo:

  • Sign in and complete your profile so you can connect on regional forums
  • Create your novel and track your word count
  • Choose a home region to get updates on local events (my area has a kick-off party followed by a write-in at the central library this week, and monthly all-day Sundays at my local library)
  • Earn participation and self-awarded writing badges by completing specific milestones
  • Get inspired with NaNo prep, NaNo coachesand pep talks by well-known authors delivered to your NaNomail inbox throughout the season
The first pep talk from graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang notes:
You have to create a life that is conducive to writing. That means scheduling regular time to write. Weekly is okay, daily is better. Writing must become a habit. If something gets in the way of your writing habit, seriously consider cutting it out of your life. You have to write even when you don’t feel like it.

It warms me to know that 2,173 members in Sonoma County are plugging away at their word count this month. I'm not a novel writer, so I'm not signing up, but I am jump-starting my writing (or, revision) process once again with renewed commitment to the completion of essays I wish to submit for publication. By condensing my copywriting into four days, I'm carving out Mondays as my creative writing day. This morning I journaled: "Can I do it? What if I can't? I'm afraid of failing--not to fail at writing well, but to fail at trying, at following through, because the writing is so hard, because I sometimes hit a wall I can't initially see through and I feel paralyzed and want to back up and give up."

To this Gene Luen Yang writes:

Fear will always be there, a constant companion, a backseat driver who won’t get out of the car. I have to turn up the radio and go.
If you sign up, you can spread the word and post and tweet about your progress; you can even use this badge for bragging rights as your social media banner. Are you ready for the challenge? Go!

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