NaNoWriMo Looms Ahead

In two days I will participate in an event. This event will be a test of my fortitude and determination and I will know in a very short period of time if I have any of either.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It is for anyone who wants to participate (that could be you). The main goal is to write a novel in a month. That is, at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (No pressure there.)

The event is free. It is based on the honor system. You never share your work, just your progress. There are forums and write-ins and tips from published novelists.

However lofty and out of reach writing a 50,000-word novel during November might seem, there are other less intimidating sub-goals that can actually make you a better writer.

  • Write everyday for a month.
  • Schedule a time for writing every day. Make it a habit.
  • Write 2,000 words each day.
  • When you write, pick up where you left off.
  • Do not rewrite or edit what you wrote the day before.
  • Write a beginning, a middle, and an ending.

Writing everyday sounds to be the easiest of the sub-goals. If I count my Tweets, Facebook and blog posts, and the Etsy descriptions of my jewelry, I write every day. However, I am not working on any writing projects. If I really want to WRITE, I should be working on a project such as a magazine article, short story, children’s book, or adult novel. For NaNoWriMo, I will work on an adult novel. I have a few ideas that I have been tossing around and on Friday morning at 12:00 AM, I will begin one of them.

To schedule a time for writing every day seems like it would be easy for a retiree like myself. However, my days are often booked with appointments, lunch dates with friends, exercising at the gym, jewelry to make and ship, chores, errands, etc. Some days are so busy that I wonder when I ever had time to work! (I know how silly that sounds. Bear with me.)

Writing 2,000 words each day is sounding much more difficult. Although that is a goal, there will be days in November (I’m thinking about Thanksgiving) that writing will not happen. And there will be days when I can only muster a few hundred words. That’s simply not acceptable. I will have to make up for it by writing 2,500 or more words on other days.

Don’t edit? I don’t know if I can do that. I know it’s a problem for me.  When I write, I get so caught up in the rewrites that I don’t make much forward progress. I edit even as I write rough drafts. That’s not going to help me get to my goal of 2,000 words every day. I need to understand that this will not be perfect writing. I have to keep telling myself that there will be plenty of time for editing and rewriting in December and January.

The last, not-so-little, little goal is to write a beginning, a middle, and an ending. That is, to have a plot. This is where I will fall short. In fiction writing, plot is the end all, be all. Since I usually write non-fiction, this will be difficult for me.

Just to be clear, I have participated in NaNoWriMo before but have never completed the task. In fact, last year I wrote less than 1,000 words altogether. It was abysmal. I know I can do better than that.

So, wish me good luck. I have a couple of days left to get my thoughts together and adjust my attitude. And if you are participating, best wishes to you! I hope we all win NaNoWriMo this year.


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