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)
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I was just thinking about this (NaNoMo) because my writer colleagues on my FB feed are all making shout-outs. But I remain a poet. I do think the discipline is EXCELLENT for any writer of any kind, though. Good luck!
Perhaps you should try out an epic epic poem, haha. But thank you!
I love this post–I can always count on you to make me laugh. Interesting tip about starting with the ending. It’s definitely worth considering.
And I am always glad to make someone laugh 🙂
Have you ever attempted NaNoWriMo?
I thought about it a couple of years ago. I’m not sure why I haven’t yet. It was too much pressure, maybe? I don’t know. In any case, good luck to you with your novel.
Never participated. But i sincerely believe that this is a good writing exercise for someone like me who aspires to be a “writer/novelist” someday — or maybe it will stay as a dream. 😛
One never has aspire to be a writer – one simply does it! Getting published and Stephen King-level famous is another thing…
It definitely is a wonderful exercise.
Hey, thanks for the link! Best of luck to you during this crazy month and may your caffeine fix never run out!
Ditto to you, fellow NaNo-er!
And a obligatory comment to spur you on in reaching for your goal as you attempt to keep calm, fight against the oncoming tide of doubt or worry and lack of coffee and other such distracting things. I’ve added you on NaNo (Silvanthato be my name) and …ahem…*puts on best medieval accent* as we embark on this grand adventure, let us not lose hope nor sight of the joy and glory that awaits at the end. Hazaar!
Thanks for the pep comment 😀 Huzzah indeed! Onward anon – to victory!
Yes, I’ve participated in NaNo three times and I’ve won three times… ergo… haven’t lost yet! 😛 And yes, I’m crazy enough to attempt it a fourth time. Though this year I will be a NaNoRebel and continue with the novel I have been writing for creative writing class for half a year, rather than start a new one. How to balance uni and NaNo? I take one hour per day and in that hour I do not move my butt until the 1667 or more words are written. As I would anyway have wasted that hour browsing youtube, I do not lose any time I need for studying. Also, advice: don’t miss a day. You’re going to want to, especially after week one, but just don’t. You’ll hate yourself for it later. I’ve done it and it was horrible.
Good luck! 🙂
That’s awesome! That takes discipline. It would probably be a good idea to turn off my Internet connection for that hour because I know the urge would be too great to type in “youtube” in the address bar 😛 What have you done with the stories that you completed through NaNo?
Best of luck to your fourth time! (Although it sounds like you don’t really need the luck 😀 )
Yeah, I also turn off the internet if I feel it’s become necessary. Or I just use blockers, so that I can still access online radio and writeordie.com (because that site is a life-saver), but not go browsing.
Ugh, the others stories are on my hard-drive somewhere. Well, the first one is plain bad, the second one requires a ton of research before it can see daylight and the third one… I just didn’t have time to revise yet. 😛
I had a horribly bad first day, which is not unknown for me, but hopefully I’m on track now. Hope your writing is going well. 🙂 And thanks!
writeordie??? Oh my goodness, I had completely forgotten about that site! Thanks for bringing it up!
…and I should probably get off this site and get back to NaNo… I’m already a day behind 😛
Thanks for the link back – and GOOD LUCK! I’ll link to you on the Nano site as well. Here’s to thirty days and nights of literary abandon. Cheers!
Good luck to you, too! Let the stressful-but-totally-worth-it month of writing begin!