Monday, September 12, 2011

Nano: Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

I apologize about the title; I have a tendency to exaggerate. My husband is the best thing, then the HNS conference, then NaNo. Roller derby comes in fourth.
National Novel Writing Month is coming up in November, and I recommend planning ahead now. What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? It is a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in only 30 days. Is that insane?
Of course. That’s what makes it so alluring.
You can make an outline for your book (which is highly recommended), but you cannot write a single word of the book before November 1. You can’t count words from anything besides the novel (no notes).
Over 100,000 people tried for it last year, and 35,000 writers won the challenge. Myself included *takes a bow*.
This is why I did it: For the first four years of writing Sacred Fire, I moved like a slug. I believed I couldn’t write every day, and my writing sessions got fewer and further between until a computer screen filled me with dread.
Nano was like breaking through a wall. I felt I was taking a sledge hammer to doubt and saying, “Screw you! I can do whatever I want!”
The novel exceeded my expectations. Sure, it’s unfinished, but I realized not only that I can write every day – 2,000 words, thank you very much – but that when I let loose, the writing is better.
On the site, you get your own profile where people can read about you and your book, and the site keeps track of your stats. You can make a friends list and keep tabs on them. Local writers get together for Nano parties; I hosted one last year. The community on Nano is amazing. I spent more time on the forums than I spent writing! There's also a store with fun goodies.
I can’t begin to tell you how much I recommend doing this.
Anyone want to add their testimony of Nano? Are you considering it, refusing it, or already dedicated to it?


  1. Nano rocks! Every writer should do it at least once in their life. I credit it for giving me the courage to do what I've always wanted to do: write a novel. And now here I am, almost two years later! I also loved the pep talks they send out.

  2. NaNoWriMo is something every writer should attempt. It teaches you to write every day and gives you the added pressures of competition and a deadline. Even if you're not an aspiring novellist, it'll give you an idea of what goes into a novel and more of an appreciation for what you read.

    This will be the fourth year in a row and, hopefully, the fourth win in a row for me.

  3. I love Nano! It taught me that I actually have the ability to write 50,000 words in one month, which I had serious doubts about lol. And now that I know I can do it, doing it again is no problem. I recently did it as my own personal nano, completing my wip in about four weeks. I love being able to crank out a first draft quickly enough that I can get to the part I love most--editing! lol

  4. very cool. I've never been in a position to do NaNo, but I've heard all good things about it. Good luck! :o)

  5. THis is the first year I've ever heard of it and I am so in.

  6. I had a very hard time with it when I tried to do the just picking an idea and seeing where it goes thing. I learned that I am definitely not that kind of writer. I hated it!

    But I sometimes use NaNo to give me a kick start on something. Word counts are fun and it's nice to have a goal. Of course then I have to continue to keep goals like that on all the other months!

    But during Nov you can at least get support from many others.

  7. Lori, I'm with you! I love the hating and HATE the first draft.

  8. Ruth,

    It's interesting you said that, because a few weeks from now I'm starting a series on how to prepare before starting a book. I write meticulous outlines, so when Nano starts, I'm going to hit the ground running. Maybe it'll help you.

  9. Yes, I love making outlines. The first NaNo I did was great, I was very well prepared. The second one I decided to try this pantsing thing, and it broke my spirit. I haven't wanted to go back. I think this year I will, and I'll do all the outlining and planning that I love.

  10. Writing-wise, NaNoWriMo is the best thing that happened to me. Before I participated in '09, I hadn't written in a couple years. Ever since that November, I've been writing steadily and have two finished projects. Without NaNo, I may have given up on my writing. Every writer should give NaNo a go at least once!

  11. This is going to be my first and I'm a little apprehensive but I'm looking forward to the structure of it. It should be good self discipline to learn.


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