National Novel Writing Month

November is a busy month for Americans. Thanksgiving is the big holiday, and usually involves lots of family, friends and food−quite the social occasion. As a writer, November is even busier than for others, because it’s also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and those of us who choose to participate will find themselves frantically typing away in every spare moment available.

Old typewriter

Image © 2006 Robbie Ribeiro

Last year was my first at attempting to complete the challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days. I failed, losing steam at just over 8,500 words. I have an excuse, as life had decided that last November was the best time to wallop me with a few challenges of its own, but I’m not going to dwell on that. The experience, although abbreviated, was a good one, so I will be charging ahead again this year.

Another of last year’s failings was in the preparation stage, as I began without an outline. I tried to produce one on the fly, but that proved less than ideal. Lesson learned, I am spending the month of October outlining, hoping I will be ready to begin hammering out words come November 1st.

Mental Preparation

On paper, the challenge doesn’t look too difficult: 50,000 words in 30 days would amount to just 1,667 words a day. Heck, my daily warmups are at least 750 words, and I usually produce that in under half an hour, and I’m a slow typist. Of course, I will need to take some days off. If I figure I take the weekends off, including the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving, I am left with 20 days instead of 30. And writing prose in a novel is a little bit more time consuming than the free-writing of my warmups. And….

Yeah, I actually get all wrapped up in these kinds of mental exercises, all in the name of making myself believe that this is actually an easy challenge.

Taking Up the Gauntlet

Are you interested in the challenge? If you head over to the NaNoWriMo web site after October 10, you can sign up, create a profile, and peruse the available forums. A note of warning, though: the forums can be a source of distraction throughout the month. I recommend keeping away from them when November begins and the clock starts ticking.

There’s also a buddy list you can fill with fellow writers from around the world* who are seeking both encouraging souls and souls in need of encouraging. There are even meet-ups scheduled with local writers, so you can assure yourself that there are actual, living, breathing writers like you living nearby.

The Point

The whole reason for all of this is to get those “someday I’m gonna write a book” people to do just that: write a book! Fifty thousand words seems like a lot, but it is actually a smallish novel—I figure mine will probably end at closer to 75,000 words—and you don’t actually have to finish your novel to win the challenge; just 50,000 words of it.

I didn’t get anywhere near the goal last year, but I still consider the experience a success, since I did produce nearly 9,000 well before the month was over. And also because I took up the gauntlet, whatever the result.

If you end up deciding to participate, look up my profile. I would be happy to add you to my Buddy List. And check out Wrimos FTW for some encouragement and more connections.


* Although it’s called National Novel Writing Month, participants participate in the challenge from all over the world.

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About RNAdams2

I write what I call "supernatural suspense"; that is, suspenseful stories involving otherworldly events. I have a lot I could (and will) write about the topic. I could explain what I write as "horror," but I have always believed that an author should have the primary motive of horrifying his readers, which is not the case with me. I could call my writing "supernatural" or "paranormal," but my writing lacks much of the focus on romance/erotica or teenage angst that seems to be prevalent in those genres.
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3 Responses to National Novel Writing Month

  1. Lyn Midnight says:

    Hi Robert! Thanks for linking back to WriMos FTW! :)

    I didn’t manage to finish the first year either! But everything got easier the second time around, which I hope will be the case for you too. ;) But I have to disagree on the ‘satying off the forums’ bit because that’s the best part! Granted, it takes away from your writing time, and if you are very busy, you can’t do the forums full-on, BUT it’s where the magic happens: people asking questions, sharing words of encouragement, suggesting help, and listing music suggestions. It goes crazy during November and I love it! :D

    • Robert Adams says:

      Thanks for your comment, Lyn. I think I am going in much more prepared than last year, and I don’t expect any more complications, either (of course, I never do…).

      The forums were a little bit of a distraction for me last year. Perhaps I just need to manage them better. I will have more time for the process this year, so perhaps they won’t be a problem this time around.

      Thanks again, and as far as linking to your site goes–thank you for producing it. Your post of resources was particularly helpful!

  2. Pingback: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Me | Supernatural Suspense

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