Thursday, October 11, 2007

13 Reasons to Tap Into National Novel Writing Month

At the neighborhood diner, friends and I are talking about inspiration. I pipe in with my favorite inspiration. It’s not a book, a person, a Website or writing buddies. Actually it’s a movement, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Chris Baty, author of “No Plot? No Problem!” a low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days, started NaNoWriMo in 1999 with 12 would-be-novelists and since then it has mushroomed.. Really mushroomed! From the official site, it's stated,"In 2006 we had 79,000 participants. Nearly 13,000 crossed the 50k finish line. . . " This year, NaNoWriMo anticipates 80, 000 participants.

Why? Because NaNoWri Mo is a huge adventure based on the premise that you CAN write a book. What if you actually could? Wouldn’t that be incredible? It would be a mountain-top experience. Well, there’s a whole group of people (at least most of the 80, 000 participants) at NaNoWriMo who believe you can. And they’ve laid out a plan.

1. You sign up at
2. You compose your author’s profile, then click around on the site for forums, t-shirts for sale, friends, advice and facts.
3. Next you write 1, 667 words daily for November’s 30 days. (That’s seven typed pages.)
4. When you finish, you upload your words to the official NaNoWritMo word counter.

All this and more is explained on the Website.
13 reasons to take the NaNoMoWri plunge

1.) It’s only a month. When it’s over, you have 11 months to do other things.

2.) You’ll join a network of friends doing the same thing. Think of it as an instant community.

3.) You can get help from tons of people. Online forums are a good source, and so are local writing parties you can attend.

4.) Your keyboard skills will improve.

5.) We all know practice makes perfect – or it puts you closer -- and the more you write, the better your writing should become.

6.) It’s the marathon experience for those of us who write instead of run. Whether you finish or not, you’ll be proud of your effort. Writing 50,000 words in a month was a big challenge for me. I wondered if I could do it, but when things got tough I contacted my writing buddies or looked in on one of the helpful online forums -- which brings me to the next reason.

7.) You receive encouragement as well as inspiration. Chris Baty e-mails you weekly and you can always find another buddy willing to cheer you on with Nano mail.

8.) This year could be the year to fulfill one of your “someday, I’ll do it” dreams. Being a novelist doesn’t have to be one of those. Even though the 1,767 words a day seemed a difficult daily goal, I must humbly admit, I succeeded.

9.) You could discover that you’re the next Hemingway, Collins, Brown, Koontz, Patterson, or King -- if you simply give it a shot.

10.) There’s a simple plan on the site, a guidebook, “No Plot, No Problem.” You can purchase or borrow it from the library, plus lots of fellow participants online you can question.

11.) It’s fun. As Chris Baty says, “I learned that writing a novel simply feels great. Slipping into ‘The Zone’ – that place where you become a passive conduit to a story -- exercises your brain in weird, pleasant ways and makes life a little more enchanted.”

12.) It’s free.

13.) Brenda thinks it’s a great idea and would like more writing buddies. When you sign up, you can join my buddy sheet and I’ll be delighted. My NaNoWritMo nickname is Persephanys. I’m still in contact with the friends I made in 2006, my first year.

If you’ve joined National Novel Writing Month in the past, you probably can think of even more reasons why it’s worth a try. Please share.
Disclaimer—I don’t work for National Novel Writing Month. I simply participated in 2006 and I’m looking forward to going through the process again this November.

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  1. Enjoy your writing! :)

  2. Have a great month! Hope you achieve your goals.

  3. How strange. I signed up last year and I tried again this year, but their site put me off. I cannot navigate in it, so I just gave up.
    Still, the idea is great.
    Thanks for stopping by today. It's great meeting you.

  4. Good luck with it. See you there!

  5. Good Luck. I've participated in years past and have used it as an inspiration to get cracking on projects. This year I'm staying out, as I have to do more than the required word count to make a couple of deadlines :)

  6. I wish I was that brave...or that I had the confidence that the book that has been floating around my head for a few years would actually come out...or that my kids would allow me to write seven sentences a day, let alone seven pages! Ah, maybe someday!

  7. Irene,
    Keep trying. The NaNoWriMo people say they've fixed the site's speed.

  8. Good luck with NaNo. I'm not doing it this year. I joined up for 70 days of sweat (Sweat with Sven).


  9. Good luck with your writing efforts dear.

  10. I will have to think about this. Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  11. goodluck!

    thanks for visiting my TT.

  12. Good luck! I think, what with Nov. 1 being my new book's deadline, that my brain is officially fried for this year's round. All the respect to you for having that kind of discipline, though! Maybe I'll join you next year:-) It's a great challenge.

  13. Ok, you really have me interested. I am a frustrated writer. Thanks for stopping by 2nd cup today.

  14. Good luck! Alison Kent (and a few friends) are doing a second 70 Days of Sweat Writing Challenge, and I'm doing that again. Maybe next year I'll try NANO.

  15. Came here looking for the Thankful Thursday post.

  16. my other comment didn't post-rats!
    what did I say?

  17. I was thinking about doing this, since my other writing deadlines have mysteriously cleared for November. I think your enthusiasm may have put me over the top.

  18. Brenda,
    Intriguing! Every new writer who thinks they can publish should try this – it is certainly a test to separate people who are in love with writing from those who are just in love with the idea of being a writer. Two different things entirely! Who picked the word count, and why is it such an odd number, please?

    You told us many reasons to take the challenge, but I’d like to hear how you felt afterwards! Was it difficult to do? (Anyone else do the Challenge?) Do you feel it helped your writing ability or gave you perspective on writing you did not have before?

    For those who have the leisure time (excuse me, arrangeable time) to do this, or if someone is just going to write self talk/journal this may not feel like much of a challenge, but if you work full time, have a lot of time scheduling problems or are writing story, this seems like a huge undertaking!

    Even so, if you become involved in family commitments and skip a day, your in trouble having to write 14 pages the next day!!!

    Thanks for letting me post my two cents worth, and uhm…I’ll have the double fudge brownie with a scoop of ice cream on the side – it’s my birthday – good excuse ain’t? And could you call my waiter? – my table is sticky.

  19. brenda,

    ...and clean up the mess from the repeat customer in booth 3A!

  20. I long to try NANO, but there's no reason to frustrate myself and my family until my kids are a little less...frustrating. And diaper-clad. But I'll cheer everyone else on!

    Jody W.

  21. I've done Nano in the past and failed miserably. This year (since I am in edit mode) I plan on joining just to read the sucky haikus.

    That alone is worth the price.