NaNoWriMo

It’s November.  That means:

1)  We survived Beltane.

2)  Temperatures here in southeast Texas are more likely to be pleasant than disgustingly hot and muggy.  Even rains occasionally.

3)  287,709 people have registered on the NaNoWriMo website to “compete” in the write-a-novel contest.

So how does it work?  To “win,” you have to complete a 50,000 word 1st draft of a novel, or write 50,000 words of a longer novel, during the month of November.  If you write every day, that’s 1,700 words a day (I average that, but I don’t write every day).

And what do you get if you win?  Why, you have the first draft of a novel!  If you register on their site and then confirm that you completed your work, you can also get a certificate.  But writing your own novel is the real prize.

The reasoning behind NaNoWriMo is that a lot of people never write the novel that they’ve always wanted to because their own internal editor tells them that what they’re writing isn’t any good.  My own internal editor is a lot like that: when I’m writing material that isn’t good, it tells me, “Rusty, this is crap.”  Those of you who know me know that the one thing I don’t have is a self-esteem problem.  But for a lot of people, their internal editor keeps them from ever writing that book that they’ve always dreamed of.

At least two regular readers of this blog are participating in NaNoWriMo.  Heather reported hitting 10,000 words on Tuesday, Nov 5–she’s on schedule!  Bruce intended to write, although I haven’t heard from him–how’s it going, Bruce?  Stella, are you indulging?  Others?

It sort of boggles the mind, in a way.  More than a quarter of a million people and busily working away without an internal editor.  In 2010, that equated to more than 2.8 billion words.  At the low cost of self-publishing, that could turn out to be a quarter million new books for $0.99, each written while expressly not paying attention to whether what you’re writing is good.

I’m just handing out a little shit in good fun.  Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (which I haven’t read but has been highly recommended to me) and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which spent time on the New York Times Best Seller list and is an absolutely brilliant novel, were both written during NaNoWriMo.  That’s recommendation enough for me.

Happy writing!

nanowrimo-published

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14 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo

  1. Im signed up. But thigh high in edits … loving that! And im attending a conference where I hope to discover even more wonderful new manuscripts. And im putting together a presentation for a Editing Workshop. Oh… and im applying for my MFA. I may not hit 50 K. 🙂

  2. 2.8 billion words without benefit–or risk–of an internal editor . . . there’s a thought.

    I didn’t know that Water for Elephants started as a NaNoWriMo manuscript. Gives one hope. Note to self: just write and stop dithering over whether the heroine notices the stars in the late night sky!

  3. I’ve pretty much been absent to everybody since November 1st but I am a few days ahead of the curve… at day 10 I crossed 21K words this morning and hope to be halfway to my goal by the end of the day today. (I’ve averaged 2,140 words a day, but I have had to take some breaks here and there since my wife and I are selling our house and getting ready to move.)

    The hardest thing in the world has been turning off the internal editor. I haven’t figured out how to turn spell and grammar check off for word so those little red and green squiggly lines have been mocking me until I deal with them. Hasn’t hurt my production much though.

    1667 words a day, as it turns out is running me between one and a half to two hours, depending on whether or not I’m getting some good stuff down (as in, I’m enjoying the writing) or just (as Rusty puts it) getting crap down on ‘paper.’

    Planning ahead and having the story pretty much figured out ahead of time has helped tremendously. The actual writing is just describing the story rather than having to figure out what happens next and if it fits with what I’ve written up until this point.

    Well, back to writing about Jonah Collins and his Mermaid girlfriend Nerise… will probably get him in the mouth of a whale today. Sorry guys… couldn’t resist.

    • Calling it a day at 25,004 words. Still no whale but I’m enjoying developing the bad guy. He starts out as an ok guy but really goes downhill from there.

      I am badly missing my BS2 beats. Oh well… guess there is going to be some major slashing and burning in the first edit.

      • 36 thousand words and Jonah and company are finally in the mouth of the whale. Only 18K words later than I had originally planned on being here.

        Yep… major slash and burn on the edits. 🙂

        I’ve been challenged by a friend to make it to 40K by the end of the day. Wish me luck.

      • Media Bistro’s NaNoWriMo tip of the day yesterday:
        “Our twelfth tip is: Take a Walk. Author Philip Roth used to walk a half mile for each page he wrote and you should too. Getting fresh air will give your eyes a much needed break from the computer screen and it will help rejuvenate your mind. It’s a great way to let your mind wander and think about your characters and your story without getting stumped by a blank screen.”

        That means Bruce should have traveled 80 miles since November 1! Although “getting stumped by a blank screen” doesn’t seem to be a problem.

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