Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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NaNoWriMo

As always, I’m not joining in for NaNoWriMo. As always, this is because I just finished a project and so for me NOVEMBER IS NOT FOR WRITING. At least, not for big writing projects. This always happens because for me the summer months are big writing months and thus fall is for revision and generally I’m stepping it down juuuust about now, resting up for starting another big writing project in December sometime.

It’s a shame, though, because I do like the enthusiasm and sense of community I see on Twitter and blogs. I’ve written at or above the NaNoWriMo average of ~1700 words per day lots of times, but it really would be kinda cool to try to hit that mark at a time when a whole bunch of other people are also taking a stab at it.

The truth about NaNoWriMo:

1. 50,000 words is not a novel

2. But it is a good chunk of words that could become a novel

3. And once you’ve got the first 50,000 words, I bet you are more likely to actually write the other half of your novel

4. Although maybe not in December because, hello, for lots of us, December is Holiday Month and locking yourself away with your laptop is probably impossible.

Here is the actual home page for NaNoWriMo if you would like to formally sign up. According to the graphic, they have about 9000 people signed up already. Wow.

Here is Chuck Wendig’s Why You Should / Why You Shouldn’t post about NaNoWriMo post. Snippets from Chuck’s post:

Why You Should

• It’s goal-oriented. Writers live by deadlines.

• It’s geared explicitly toward finishing your shit, and finishing your shit is about the only single piece of writing advice you can really, genuinely count on to be true.

Why You Shouldn’t

• Put differently, this month is very much about comparing yourself to other writers, and engaging in uniformity. And comparing yourself to other writers and trying to conform to their habits and their schedules is a very good way to feel very bad.

• November is a dogshit month to accomplish, well, basically anything. At least for me. Forget it, Jake, it’s Holidaytown. … Plus, right at the end there you get Thanksgiving — so, instead of 30 days, you kinda have like, 20-25. And then if you have kids they usually end up with a whole week off, and if you’ve eaten too much turkey and potatoes you probably lose a day on a recliner — bloated and serene.

Yep, what he said.

Here’s a good post about why arguments against NaNoWriMo are unpersuasive. My favorite:

“If you write that fast, it’s going to be crap.”

I will be the first to admit that drafting this fast means a hell of a lot of editing down the line, at least for me. But as Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of everything is shit.”

I can tell you from personal experience that it is also entirely possible to write a first draft very, very slowly, and still have it turn out to be shit. So there’s that.

Here’s a good post about what participation can do for you at Writer’s Digest:

This author — Heather Debord — has gotten *really* into it in previous years:

The official goal is fifty thousand words, sure, but the sky’s the limit. NaNo is an incredible opportunity to pursue some personal goals. My first year, I just wanted to hit that magic 50K. I squeaked over the finish line on the final day with thirty words to spare. The second year, my goals extended beyond the writing itself and included attending some local NaNo writing events to try to develop some real-life connections to other writers. My third year, I aimed big and challenged myself to double the goal. This year, I hope to actually type the elusive words The End, the one thing I have yet to do during NaNo.

You see that bit about challenging herself by doubling the wordcount? Wow. I’ve written that fast for about four books, I guess, but it’s not my favorite thing.

I like this cheerful post about NaNoWriMo, too:

I know. Sounds like madness. But its really pretty fun, in a masochistic kind of way.

Best reason I know of to join in! If I hadn’t pretty much done the NaNoWriMo thing in January and May and June and July and August, I’d be right there . . .

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3 Comments NaNoWriMo

  1. Macsbrains

    I think if I were a writer I think I would probably find NaNoWriMo helpful. I tend to need a kick in the butt to do anything, even things I really enjoy doing. I’m ok once I get started, but getting started in the first place? Eh, maybe later.

    It’s for this reason that I’ve been doing reading challenges for the past several years. I’d like to think I’d read 100-150 books a year when left only to my own devices, but I know myself, and that’d be too optimistic by a factor of 10 no matter how many books are on my TBR mountain. The public accountability apparently makes a difference, even if no one else cares.

  2. Rachel

    Well, nothing at all is going to be true of everyone. Except, I suppose, the truism that the keystone of writing is finishing your stories.

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