Ever year in November, writers from all around the world participate in a crazy little event called NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month.
Write 50,000 words in a month.
A 50,000 word manuscript that you wrote.
Are you still with me?
On top of November, some crazy writers (such as myself) also choose to participate in “Camp NaNoWriMo”, which takes place in April and July. Camp is a little more casual in the fact that you choose your own word goal.
This year I’ve set the whopping goal of 75,000 words for July. I wrote 30,000 words back in April, but my story went completely off the rails and grew three arms and five subplots. My April novel will definitely be revisited, but for now, my focus is on July.
I’m happy to report that I’m 32 chapters into the outline for my July novel, The Alabaster Heir, and the more I outline, the more I cannot WAIT to get started! (That being said, I have also updated my Current Project page with the cover and synopsis for The Alabaster Heir!)
So, why on earth would I subject myself to this cruel sort of torture, you ask?
Let me tell you a story.
Once upon a time, I frequented the forums on GaiaOnline. If any of you know what that is, feel free to mock me or throw fruit at me (especially if it’s fresh and delicious fruit).
Anyways, I used to hang out on the writing forum, and one day I ran across a thread with the title “NaNoWriMo.”
I squinted at it, attempting to pronounce it to myself (which I’m sure I did terribly), then, in that fated moment, clicked the thread and opened the door to the rest of my life. Cue dramatic music and a montage of me furiously typing and screaming at my laptop at all hours of the day and night.
If I’m being honest, my initial reaction to NaNoWriMo was one of deep sarcasm and many shrugs.
How could I accomplish the ridiculous task of writing 50,000 words in a month?
I thought it improbable, impossible. I ran away from that thread as fast as I possibly could, and yet the idea of NaNo continued swimming around my head.
A few weeks later found me at a writer friend’s house. I asked her if she’d heard about those other crazy writers on Gaia who were going to attempt to write a novel in a month. Long story short: She hadn’t. I showed her the thread. We ended up on the website. And then something kooky happened…
We both lost our minds and decided to do it.
I did write pretty frequently at that point in my life, but I had never finished more than a short or co-authored story, and I had no idea in hell how to outline.
If you’re a writer (or like writing, or enjoy long nights and excuses to drink caffeine), I SO SO SO encourage you to try NaNo! Do it in November! Do it in July! Do it in April! Heck, make your own goal during your favorite month and write until you can no longer feel your fingers! (FYI it doesn’t have to be a novel. Some people do a series of short stories or poems or a script or whatever the heck they want.)
Even if you don’t finish, even if you get 5k in and decide that you hate your story, YOU STARTED SOMETHING WONDERFUL!
NaNo taught me to make goals in my writing, and to be serious about those goals. Writing is a muscle. You have to work it as much as you possible so you can be the lean, mean, writing machine you were always meant to be.
I thank the writing gods for that silly thread in that silly forum so many moons ago. Ten years later I’m still doing NaNo and I wouldn’t trade the missed sleep, over-consumption of caffeine, cancelled social plans, or lost sanity for anything.
Thanks to NaNo I’ve finished several novels (revisions are another story, but we’ll talk about that later), learned my style of outlining and what works for me, and have set and accomplished other writing goals that I never thought I’d be able to accomplish – like writing every day, for one.
Yes, let the plot flow throughhhhh youuuu. And come do NaNoWriMoooooooo!
I’ve learned a lot from NaNo. NaNo is my bro. Let NaNo be your bro. Do NaNo. Let me know. We can suffer together.