Monday, October 21, 2013

Get Ready…Get Set…WRITE! NANOWRIMO is Almost Here!

November means a lot of different things for many people.  Here in Rhode Island most of us begin to use the heat November 1st, some of us clamor to the malls for the start of the holiday season, some of us can’t wait to get our hands on that turkey.  And some of us, the brave (or the crazy depending on your point of view) look forward to November for the world’s oddest acronym; NANOWRIMO.  National Novel Writing Month; one month 50,000 words and countless pots of coffee!  I’ve participated in this crazy endeavor four times.  The first time was in 2009, I started midyear after hearing about it in my classes, and thanks to the encouragement of a young performer I was at the time directing.  I didn’t start writing until mid month, and made it to maybe 10,000 words.  Undaunted I tried again in 2010, and made it to 50,000 words and had a complete novel!  One that I edited with the help of my best friend and I have sitting in my bookcase; proof that I took the plunge and accomplished it!  The Reunion sits in my bookshelf and occasionally I send it out to agents in the hopes that someone will love it as much as I do.  The following year I won amongst the hardest month of my life.  November of 2011 I lost my Dad to a very long illness.  I have always found writing to be something of a therapeutic method, so it’s really no wonder that I latched onto my laptop as if it was a lifeline.  I took a break in 2012 since I was student teaching, (although I did attempt to do this as a class project with my students…another blog for another day!) and am very excited to begin this year.  I am going into it with a large online support group comprised of fellow students in the MA English and Creative Writing program at SNHU.  The encouragement is fantastic, and many of us seem nervous, and excited.  Some have begun to look for tips online, so I thought why not add myself to the list?  After all, I have been through NANOWRIMO and lived to tell the tale!  Why not offer some survival tips?

1.       Writing is not a luxury in November, it is your JOB!  You have to think like this.  Yes, there are dishes, and homework, and laundry, but your novel, the novel you MUST tell will no longer wait!  Get it out there and do it now!  

2.      50,000 words is only 1,666 words per day.  Some days you’ll do way more…some days you’ll do less, just always carve out that time in your day!

3.      Any extra time you have should be all about your novel!  Only have ten minutes?  Maybe you can quickly jot out 100 words.  

4.      Stuck?  Should you go back and read what you wrote?  NO!!!  Do something catastrophic, kill a character, invite a plague in; give your characters a real hardship to deal with and see that word count go up!

5.      There’s no shame in writing do not for don’t or will not for won’t…remember every bit helps!
6.      Coffee.  Lots of coffee.

7.      Tell your family; tell them that this is important to you.  At this point my family and close friends know that if I’m sleep deprived in the month of November it’s okay.

8.      Sleep deprivation isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you[‘re working towards the greater good.  Your novel IS the greater good!

9.      Did I mention coffee?
10.  Remember this, over 100 novels written during NANOWRIMO have found themselves to bookshelves via traditional publishers.  Does Water for Elephants ring a bell?  Sara Gruen’s amazing novel was conceived in a month-and yours can be too!

So what are you waiting for?  Go out there and write!  The world needs your novel!

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