NaNoWriMo: Are You In?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins on November 1.  What is NaNoWriMo?  Basically, it’s writing a 50,000 word novel in exactly 30 days.  Basically, it’s crazy.  And I think I might give it a try.

Why on Earth would anyone want to do this?  Well, if you’re like me, you’ve read a lot of novels and found yourself wondering, “How in the world did this ever make it into print?”  You think to yourself, “I can write better than that.”  Then you smugly go about your life, resting in the knowledge you could write a novel.  If you felt like it.  If you had the time.  If you knew the right people.  If…

Well, this is an excellent opportunity to write that novel we all know we’re capable of writing.  Expectations are already a little low.  Come on, 50,000 words in 30 days?  You know that a lot of what your writing will be garbage, filled with unnecessary adverbs and long philosophical passages that seem brilliant when you’re churning them out at 2 am but are ridiculously cliché and downright dumb when you read them after a good night’s sleep.  But I think that’s part of the fun.  Who knows?  You might find a new direction in the meanderings of your mind that you can actually use later.  When November 30 is over and you start the excruciating process of rewrites and vicious edits.

This is directly from the NaNoWriMo website:

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

Sounds good to me.

The best part about the whole thing is that you’re a “winner” if you accomplish the 50,000 words in 30 days and you get a PDF certificate and a nifty badge for your blog.  Normally, I’m not a “you participate you get a trophy” kind of gal, but if you accomplish this, you are definitely a winner.

I know one person who participates in NaNoWriMo.  Rebekah Loper, Writer, is where I first heard of NaNoWriMo and instantly thought of “Nanu, Nanu” from Mork and Mindy (which I now say in my head every time I see the word NaNoWriMo.)  I hope she can give me some advice before I start this thing.  I’d like to know what I’m getting myself into.

So, what about you?  Do you think you could do it?  Do you want to join me and the 200,000 other crazy people who think they can pull this off?  I’d love to do this with someone.  It might be fun.

I know I’m not the only one who thinks they can write a novel but has always been too scared to try.  This is the perfect opportunity to do so and probably the most stress-free way to do it.  So what if it stinks?  You only had 30 days to do it.  Maybe, just maybe, it will be good.  Really good.  Potentially good. Kind of good.  Whatever.  What have you got to lose?

It’s now or never.  Join me?  

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56 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Are You In?

    • That is a better way to look at it. Of course, making those 2,000 words make sense and go with each of the next day’s 2,000 words is still a challenge. It can be done.

      (That comment was 35 words long.)

      • MY bad! The shop is slow this morning, so instead of doing my “paper work”, I am reading all the bantering between you bloggers. IT even makes for good reading!
        The end; have to get on the computer and pay my sales tax now. It’s been a fun morning with you guys.

        • Thanks, Mrs. Cecile. I appreciate your encouragement and your compliments. Now stop reading my blog and get those taxes paid. The IRS don’t play.

          My blogging buddies are pretty awesome, though. 🙂

  1. Yes, I can write lots of crap! And like everyone else in the blogging world, I’ve already started the next big novel (really it’s just a rough outline that went nowhere fast, but I’m sure it could be brilliant) I know that if I were to ever finish it, it would be way way better than The Help. I would do this challenge if I could sit down and write a few thousand words every single day but I’m afraid I’d have to run away and leave my husband and kids for a month.

    • Yes, I see lots of hot dogs for dinner, a clothes must be worn twice before being laundered rule, and a tape recorded message that says, “Ask your daddy, I’ m busy.” Kidding. Actually, I simply expect to get less sleep than usual, if that’s even possible.

      Way way better than “The Help”huh? I’m aiming a little lower. Better than “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Maybe.

  2. I MADE ANOTHER CONVERT!!!! BWAHAHAHAAAA!!!
    *cough* sorry. I’m slightly very passionate about NaNo. Mostly because it’s awesome, but that’s also why I’m an ML on top of being a participant!
    When NaNo time comes around, there’s a chat room set up for each region, and for word wars, so you are more than welcome to join my regional chat room. I’ll get all that info to you when that time comes around.
    Also, on Oct 1st is when registration officially opens for the this year, and you’ll be able to join a region (I probably know your regional ML, I just don’t know which one it is), and they’ll connect you all locally. I don’t know if your region will do write-ins or not, but in mine we do at least two write-ins a week – on at the local library, one at Wendy’s, and we’ll also do ‘virtual’ write-ins in the chat room.
    Not to mention there are also the forums, so you’ll hardly be alone 😉
    I’m so happy you’re going to do it!
    And the ‘official’ count of words per day to achieve the goal is 1,667.

    • It sounds like an awesome experience. Honestly, though, there is some great work coming out of these things, isn’t there? I bet I’ll be blown away by the talent. I’m getting excited now! I better get to work on that rough outline!

      • Water for Elephants was a NaNo novel. Somewhere on the site there is a list of published NaNo works, but I can’t find it right now.

        But yes, there is some awesome work, and there is also some awful work, hehe. But it’s amazing to connect with so many writers.

        • Water for Elephants? Hmm. I’m not a big fan of that book. Still, it certainly “made it,” didn’t it?

          I’m curious. What happens after the fact? Do the writers decide whether to keep their novels and make a go of it? Is there any advantage to writing a novel in NaNo over just writing one alone? I’m just wondering if it helps get people published.

          • NaNo in and of itself doesn’t necessarily help people get published, though if you do get published and let it be known that you’re a NaNo-er, I’m sure it would help your sales!

            What NaNo is really about is getting people to sit down and write that book they’ve always said they’re going to but never find the time for. I know that sentence was very crazy!

            That being said, there are several people in the publishing industry – authors and editors – that participate in NaNo. Brandon Sanderson participates in NaNo, though I don’t know if he will this year because he’s got book tours in November. Mercedes Lackey wrote one of the pep talks last year, etc. It is beginning to get big-name recognition.

            Amazon.com and CreateSpace are two of NaNo’s corporate sponsors. For the past few years, CreateSpace has given a promo code to NaNo winners for a free proof copy of a book. Of course, that’s only if you want to self-publish.

            So, while NaNo doesn’t guarantee being published, it can aid in starting to make the connections to get there.

    • I officially joined today. My region is Georgia: Savannah. There are almost 300 WriMos here. That surprises me. Judging by what they did last year, they do meet up. That would be great if they do that this year. I’m really getting excited. I think I might email you. I have a lot of questions. Will that be ok with you?

  3. I want to!!! I REALLY want to! But who decided November would be the best month for this?! Thanksgiving, school projects, and fighting into skinny jeans… I may not have any time left to write 😉 But seriously, I heard about this from another blogger and I’m really into the idea. Can we sign up to be in a group together? And is it free?

    • When you get into the NaNoWriMo forums, there’s a forum called “Writing Groups and Clubs” in the “NaNo Groups” section, and you can start up any kind of group you want there!
      And yes, NaNo is completely free, they work on a donation basis to run the website and affiliated programs.

    • Rebekah answered your questions. She’s the expert. You want to start a group? You can get a lot of info from NaNoWriMo’s zite. Ahem. Nanu, nanu. Can’t resist it. 🙂
      You are right about it being a busy month. My kids will be home on a little vacation at that time. I’ll have to get as much done as I can before Thanksgiving.

    • Emily! You absolutely HAVE to add me there dear! It’s gonna be so much fun! And also I just saw that I didn’t get any of the courses I wanted in November, so I’ll have the whole month free! 😀 What a weird coincidence is that!

  4. I will join you Erin, as you know and have seen, i can write a lot of crap.
    I want a badge, i have no badges 😦
    You said it has to be a novel/story of some sort but doe’s not have to make complete sense, that suits me 🙂 am i right.

  5. Am I in? No, of course not. I might be interested to read a few of the results, but it’s the exact opposite of the way I prefer to write. I would rather think about a topic for, oh, 30 years and then try to present what could be written about for 10, 000 words in 700.

    I bet you could do it.

  6. This could be so much fun, but 2,000 a day??? That all have to come together and make some sense by the end of a month? Just remembered the really bad book I began reading not so long ago before threatening to throw it in the fire – 482 pages and I am congratulating myself on making it all the way to page 72. This could be the inspiration I need. Happy to share the name of the book if anyone is interested!

      • “The Slap” by Christos Tsiolkas. Sorry to Christos but he let far too much detail get in the way of what might have been a good story. Plus when I read for the fourth time in as many pages about “dissipated feelings” I become cross with the editing.
        The Slap makes The Help look Pulitzer.

    • Oh you have to tell us the name of that book!

      I think you should try it. I’d love to have as many friends participating as possible. It wouldn’t make me feel so alone. Of course, the ones that say they’re thinking about it are amazing writers and might make me look like an idiot. Then again, maybe it’ll up my game.

      BTW, on Twitter, there’s a hashtag (#crapfiction) that me and another woman have started using for those who are new to NaNoWriMo and want to talk about it. Not that we want to encourage anyone to write crap fiction, but we think it might encourage those who feel a little inadequate or are wondering if they should even try. You know, lighten the mood and make it about fun and not trying to write the best book ever written.

      Seriously Patti, what is the name of the book? I have to know now.

      • MF, replied to NCP before I found this! Bad writing irritates me on two levels. First, it is wasting my time. Second, ok, so I think I could do better but what if it turned out to be as bad as this? Good writing inspires me, bad writing terrifies me. Further irritations with bad writing concern people further along the line -agents, editors, publishers, reviewers who let this crap out of the bag. Am definitely signing up for #crapfiction!
        My solace with The Slap is that I did not waste money on it but someone else did. And yet, if I am sitting here in the comfort of my own space, dishing it out, how prepared am I to put my own neck on the line?
        Erin, I seriously hope you go for it. You have such a touch, friends and family behind you but those wee small hours are all yours! Haven’t forgotten the screenplay either!

        • The fear of writing something and it being really bad is what keeps me from trying. I don’t know if I could take it if someone said, “I had to fight the urge to hurl this into the fireplace.” Nevermind I take the lighthearted approach and start #crapfiction in an effort to deflect any negative comments (hey, I said it would be crap. I’m delivering on my promise), I don’t want it to be laughably bad. I hope it’s a good start. Whatever happens, I’m praying this will at least get me off my behind, put the fear of failure behind me, and get me to writing something I can be proud of, regardless of anyone else’s opinion.

          Writing is like music. It doesn’t take a talented writer/musician/singer to recognize a bad one. I just hope my writing isn’t 1st week of American Idol worthy. 🙂

          • Girl, seriously; I can’t believe you don’t believe in yourself! Wait, I take that back, because in the 7 years that I have had my shop, I have worked with at least 7 artist of one kind or another, and they are ALL the same. Regardless as to how talented they REALLY are, they have NO confidence in their ability. I thnik that is a shame. I kinda get it, but at the same time it actually hurts me that they are SO hard on themselves. I don’t want YOU are any other TALENTED person wasting your time on negative feelings about your capabilities. YOU have what it takes! I LOVE your writing. YOU CAN DO THIS AND IT WILL BE GOOD! ! !

  7. great, now I will think of mork and mindy every time too, thanks a lot.

    have a 2 week work trip this november so this year I am out -again- do want to do it someday thought. it’s the closest I will ever get to a marathon

  8. I did it for the first time last year, but didn’t complete it. What was awesome though is that I got about 20,000 words into my novel, which is my current WIP. Even though I didn’t “win” I consider it a good thing. I’m not doing it this year because I want to finish the WIP and I can’t work on something already begun for NaNoWriMo. You’ll find a lot of support on their website, on Twitter and FB. Also, I used the site 750words.com to do a lot of the writing. Good luck!

    • Well, that’s pretty cool. I was wondering where people choose to do the actual writing. I had no idea so many people I know did this. I’ll have to spend some time over on the NaNoWriMo site and figure this whole thing out.

        • Write or Die sounds interesting. Question: Have you ever written on Kamikaze mode? (Is that how you spell that? Stupied IE with no automatic spellchecker. Forgot to log in with Chrome.) I would die if my writing started disappearing because I went to the bathroom or something. 🙂

          • I have not used Kamikaze mode – I’m too terrified! I usually only use Write or Die for quick sprints (no more than 30 minutes at a time), and I have mine set so that the background starts turning red and there are ‘evil violins’ that start screeching if I stop typing for more than 10 seconds.

            Screeching violins are enough to motivate me *shudder*

  9. You too?!?!?! That’s so great! And Emily! Yay! I’m definitely trying it, too. This will be my first time, and I probably won’t have much time either, but who cares? I’m in (you find me there as Kiwikar too)!
    Don’t they have some badges on the website that we could put in our blogs?

    • I’m not Erin, but I can answer the badge question 😀
      There are badges, yes, but what’s up right now are still the 2010 badges. The site will be reloaded on October 10th for the 2011 session, and there will be new badges then.

    • Well, I guess my badge is so last year. I’ll have to get the new ones when they come out next week. I love that you’re doing it, too! I’ll add you as a writing buddy!

      Good luck all!

  10. OK, I didn’t leave a reply to this before, but when one of your blog buddies shows up in a weekly recommendation from stumble upon? Liked post, commented, liked in stumbleupon. Had to do it.

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