The Grand NaNo Post
“Ah,” most of you say, “I wondered when she would write a post about it.”
You should never have worried, readers. Of course I shall write a post about my beloved NaNoWriMo! The fact that it grows dangerously near to November means nothing.
Actually, my post comes so late because I have very little to say. For the benefit of those who don’t know what it is, I have come to summarize. For those of you who do know, and will be doing it, I come to offer my support and encouragement.
I also come to make a few announcements about what shall be happening on the blog during November.
But first, for those who don’t know of the Grand National Novel Writing Month:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.
Or so says their website. In truth, those three sentences hardly scratch the surface of what NaNoWriMo is. Perhaps it’s professionalism that keeps them from it, but in any case, it’s up to us, the participants, to really say what NaNoWriMo is all about.
It’s about thirty days of caffeine, frozen fingers as the weather gets colder, and more time with your novel that most of us will get in any other thirty days.
It’s about writing one word at a time, pounding them out even when we don’t feel like it, because we have a deadline to meet. It’s also about writing whole scenes, chapters, sections, novels, at once.
It’s about learning how to write, through practice. Well, it’s about learning how to get the first draft out, anyway.
It’s about gathering in groups of people to Word War until the sound of a timer is perpetually ringing in your ears.
It’s about learning to fall in love with your novel, even as you crash into bed exhausted each night.
It’s about remembering what it feels like to be a writer.
Helpful Tools During NaNoWrimo
Write or Die. (Well, not literally, but that would produce a lot of words, wouldn’t it?)
Write or Die is a program that pulls up a blank text box for you to write in. You set your time goal or word goal, and you cannot do anything else until you reach it. I’m afraid I cannot give you much information about the new version, because I always go back to the old one, which I find to be less filled with distractions. However, I think you can get all the information from the websites.
Word Wars can be set up whenever or wherever. Two or more writers pick an amount of time and race each other: whoever gets the most words wins, though most people don’t really care about who wins. The quick sprints are incredibly helpful for reaching daily word goals.
I have heard that Go Teen Writers will be setting up a Word War during November, though I’m afraid I don’t know for sure.
There’s a group board for Word Wars on Pinterest where you can set up Word Wars with people. You can join the board if you comment saying you would like to, and I don’t think anyone would mind if you just joined in one of the Word Wars without being a part of the board.
You can set up a Word War with whomever you would like, basically wherever you would like. All you need is another person who would like to join!
You can also send me a NaNoMail if you would like, and if I’m around I can Word War with you. My NaNo profile is here.
A Baby Names Website
Because occasionally, we’ll suddenly realize that there’s a character who needs to join the grand quest, or briefly step in to say something. Personally, I use babynames.com most of the time. You can search for names, search for meanings, search for nationalities, search for first and last letters, and search for syllable length. You’ll find the place to search on the left sidebar. Of course, using, “(((???)))” or “Mr. [Somebodyorother]” always works if you don’t have time to find a name, too.
Music and a Good Pair of Headphones.
Find them now. You’ll most likely want them at some point in the month, even if you don’t usually listen to music while you write.
Keep coffee (or tea, or something hot) easily accessible.
They say don’t edit, but if you’re like me, you’ll probably end up doing just a little bit of editing. Like, say, typos. I’m going to go against the NaNoWriMo catch phrase and say, that’s okay. Don’t over-edit, but if the typos are driving you crazy, right click, click the correct option, move on. Don’t pull your hair out over it.
Back up your novel every~single~day. I cannot stress this enough. You really don’t want to have your computer crash half-way through NaNo and realize that you’ve just lost your novel.
Get up, run around, find something active to do every once in a while.
Know where you’re supposed to be every day. Don’t panic too much if you miss a day, but keep updating your novel and watch as your word count keeps going up. They put the “stats” page on there for a reason. Use it. It’s incredibly helpful.
Connect with other writers you know, if you can. Doing it as a community makes it ten times better.
And, about the blog…
I’m going to be trying for 70,000 words this NaNo (though maybe not officially… So, shhh), and I realized that I wouldn’t have time to make the goal and write anything good for you here, so—
(No, don’t worry. The blog won’t be going on another hiatus.)
—I asked four awesome people to guest post on the blog this November. All published authors, all with excellent work, they’ll all be bringing excellent writing advice to you. You should definitely be looking forward to these next four Wednesdays.
Unfortunately, the Character Interviews will be paused for the month of November. They’ll make a return in December though.
Well, readers? Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What are you writing about? Make use of the comment box!