Saturday, November 7, 2009

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Nanowrimo. Don't ask me how it's pronounced, but it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Some of you are probably already in the throes of writing your 50,000 words rough drafts, but for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about ...

During the month of November thousands of aspiring writers band together to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The goal is to just get a draft down. No one's expecting it to be a masterpiece. Then once the draft is done, you'll finally have something to work with.

But don't let the fact that we're already 7 days into the month deter you. Any month can be your Nanowrimo!

I attempted my own personal Nanowrimo a couple years ago when I was writing my second novel. I purposed to write 60,000 words in 6 weeks. I figured if I wrote 1500 words a day, five days a week, that would work. I ended up taking more like 8 weeks, but I did it. It was hard, I'll admit. But I was very glad I made the commitment.

But here's the thing that made it work for me. I did not allow myself to go back and re-read what I wrote the day before. I know. Sounds impossible, right? It wasn't as hard as I might've thought. Sure, I had some plot threads that got dropped midway. A character or two disappeared (with some others show up unexpectedly). But I found out I had more of the story in my head than I thought.

Have you been laboring over the first three chapters of your book for the past three months (ask me how I know what this feels like!)? Do you desperately want to finish that book you started years ago but put in a drawer? Why not give the Nanowrimo technique a try? You don't have to not read what you wrote the day before, but I guarantee it'll help you turn off that internal editor that hounds your every writing hour. :)

And now in honor of this year's Nanowrimo participants, I give you this video:


  1. I've purposely avoided NaNoWriMo for years. But this year I needed some extra motivation and joined. I'm so glad I did. Seeing my "buddies" progress meter is a real push to get back to my keyboard. I highly recommend it!

  2. "Any month can be your Nanowrimo!" For sure, but there's something about knowing that there are others, especially some writing buddies, who are doing it with you.

    But I do like the idea of "NaNoWriMo Anytime" as a means of knocking out a first draft.

  3. I know what you mean, Patricia. It would be great to get a bunch of writing buddies together to do you own Nanowrimo month. Then there's accountability.

  4. All I know is...NaNoWriMo means "More books for me!" And there is SO MUCH good reading to look forward to in 2010:-) Can barely wait!!!!!

  5. I tried to ignore NaNo this year and finally gave in to my own internal pressure two days before it began.

    I am usually an obsessive thinker and picker, and NaNo has been just what I needed to keep me from stifling my creative juices. If I want to reach my word goals, I don't have time to pick at my story.

    I do usually read the last page I wrote before I start each day - just to help me jump back into my characters heads, but other than that I just jump right in there and go.

    And the best part has been that accountability through watching my NaNo buddies succeed, and that encourages me beyond anything else to keep my fingers moving.

  6. Omigosh, that video is awesome! A little long, but awesome.

    I haven't been to their blog in ages... Now I'm tempted to go back. And send the link to mom, who loves Terri Blackstock. :-)

  7. Fantastic post and fantastic video! So hilarious!

    I'm trying to commit to working on my WIP every single day this month. Even if it's only a line a day (though once I get the ball rolling, it usually goes for a little while). I have a really bad habit of getting four pages in and then abandoning the piece for a new idea. Committing to working on the same WIP every day for a month will hopefully help me break that cycle.

  8. I did NaNoWriMo 2009 and finished 53,000 words by 30th November.
    That novel then grew to nearlt 60,000 words. Then I had it edited and rewritten.
    The novel is now 55,850 words and has just been released.
    I am very proud of it, my first novel:

    Seven Tomahawks for Jerusalem is the riveting story of a secret Al-Qaeda attack on Jerusalem, using United States cruise missiles. The mission goes unexpectedly wrong, and now appears as a strike against Jerusalem's Arabs, not on the land of Israel.In heated arguments, the leader of Al-Qaeda and the President of the United States bat it out on world television while the terrorists escape to hidden Al-Qaeda camps in north Africa. Two of them are killed and the last one, a helicopter pilot, is escorted to Bin Laden's hideout in the Hindu Kush region of the Himalayas.Then, an astonishing turn of events sets in motion the end of the story. Good and evil, compassion and violence produce a gripping outcome that nobody could have possibly imagined.
    "I truly love your characters. I love the internationality of this book. You clearly know your stuff. You do accents wonderfully. The book is very funny in places. The plot is wacky and wonderful; it has a beginning, middle and end. It is truly an enjoyable read."—Molly Mckitterick (Editor), The Word Process

    We are offering you an opportunity to secure your personal copy of Jonathan M. Sion’s exceptional book today. Please click here: to secure your copy of the book*, then click Add to Cart. For an introductory discount of 20%, use this coupon code: Discount20.