If you’ve been even remotely near any writerly circles on the Interwebs (which you likely have since you’re on a WordPress site), you know what this post is going to be about. No M. Night Shyamalan twist. No revolutionary authorial innovation. As of the publishing of this article, it is October 31st, what most consider to be date of All Hallow’s Eve, but what amateur writers know to be as…
THE DAY BEFORE NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH.
(Also known as “The Last Day of Restful Sleep,” “The Beginning of the Great Annual November Coffee Flood,” “Descent into Insanity,” and “The Day of Slamming Doors into Trick-or-Treaters’ Faces in Favor of Last Minute Plotstorming” – among others.)
If you are indeed reading this on Halloween Day, this means there is less than 24 hours before the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for those in the kNoW (See what I did there?… Oh God, the descent has already started.)
For those of you not cool enough to have known about this, here is a rundown of what exactly NaNo is:
- Goal: Write a story at least 50,000 words long by the end of November – this amounts to at least 1,667 words a day on average
- No starting before November and you lose if you don’t finish by November 30, 11:59:59 pm
- Just kidding, this isn’t the writers’ Hunger Games
- Kiss your bed goodbye for the next month
- Stock up on coffee and trail mix
- If you’re a student (like me), your grades will suffer
- The point is to leave your perfectionism at the door and simply write; you can edit it it all in December when you’re done
- Sign up on the official website to meet fellow NaNo-ers, read and contribute great advice, and just have a ton of fun. Writing nerds unite!
- Also, it’s NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) – self-explanatory. Those attempting to do both NaNo and NaBlo at the same time should be committed to a mental asylum.
I’ve attempted the NaNo shenanigans a couple of times – did not meet the goal either times. What I found was my greatest problem was a lack of purpose or end goal. I recently spoke to a friend of mine and he gave me the most mindblowingly simple, yet extraordinary advice I had ever heard pertaining to writing: start with your ending.
Perhaps you’ve thought of this before and you systematically do this when writing long stories, but I had never thought to do this before. This was perfect! Create your ending, so that you have a target to aim at whilst furiously scribbling/typing away. It doesn’t matter where your tangentify your story off to, you can always bring it back around to where you wanted it to end. And of course, the end can evolve as you delve further into your story, and the evolution is made that much easier because you had a place to start. While you are the author, you’re still not some god – you cannot make something come from absolutely nothing.
With this advice in mind… I still have no idea what the hell I have to write about. Oh well, I still have *glances at clock*…
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? How did it go? Will you be participating this year? If you’re a fellow student, how are you going to balance school work, NaNo and procrasterbation time? How many gallons of caffeination will you drink this month? Good luck!
I’ve registered on the site as stressingoutstudent, so feel free to add me as a writing buddy!
Pep talks, funnies, and more NaNo info:
- National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org)
- NaNoWriMo Starts This Friday? Challenge Accepted (Writer Loves Chocolate)
- Why NaNoWriMo Is Like Christmas (Messages From My Life)
- NaNoWriMo 2013 ( Parchment Place)
- NaNoWriMo Pep Talk (A Writer’s Journey)