The Incredibly Long NaNoWriMo Post (but totally worth reading)

The Incredibly Long NaNoWriMo Post (but totally worth reading)

October 31, 2012 Writing 13

This unexpected four-day weekend was a blessing in disguise. While I didn’t get anything done, I did get much needed rest because we all slept in. It is a great feeling to feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 7:00 am when you know you have a lot of work to do…

Especially when NaNoWriMo begins TOMORROW!

That’s right. It begins tomorrow. And you know what that means for my blog and me but I’m hoping that things will be a little different this year, and I will find time to participate in some of the memes without using my NaNo story for prompts.

I will admit that NaNo snuck up on me. I’ve actually been thinking about it all summer, and when a story started getting longer and longer (the abruptly stopped “Rolling in the Deep”), I planned to complete it for NaNo. I whipped it out for America’s Next Author (did you know they opened the VOTE link so you can vote again?) because it was lengthy enough, but realized that it was more than the 5,000 word limit, but it wasn’t a 50,000 word piece either.

Then, I moved on to my “In Time” Steampunk series, trying to stick all the pieces together in some semblance of order. Boy is that a task I still have to complete! There is so much missing between pieces, however, and even though I know the full plot line now, and how the story ends, there’s a lot to do to make it combine. So, I scrapped that option as well.

I turned to my trusty “A Novel Idea” app that I have on my iPad, where I tuck away all my ideas, adding the new ones that were swirling around in my head, then reading through the list, and the light bulb in my brain flashed on.

Oh, that’s right. I did come up with something new. But will it make a 50,000-word story? I will admit that going from being a short story writer by habit to trying to stretch it into a 50,000-word novel is a task. But I reminded myself that I have two years of NaNoWriMo under my belt, both of which I won.

Even if last year’s novel sits uncompleted in my archives and I have lost the storyline. And, even if the first year’s novel still needs editing and (at least) one more book to complete it.

I dive in, full mode, trying to put this thriller together. I lay it out in DMs with Jester Queen (haven’t met her? You really should!), bouncing ideas off her equally creative brain. A plan formulates that is at least further along in my head than last year’s project is. And then…

I’m sitting in church listening to my pastor’s message. My muse is misbehaving and distracting me from his preaching, forcing me to jot ideas down on the special notes page of the program. Now, I’m questioning…Should I do this new idea, a completely new genre for me (Christian fiction), or should I stick with the one I already have started?

I’m still not sure of the answer, but at least I can say I am ready to take on NaNoWriMo with one or the other.

For those of you taking on NaNo with me this year, remember it’s really simple:

  1. Set aside a block of time, the same time every day, to write. Turn off all distractions and set your cellphone to silent.
  2. Have any “supplies” handy-fill your glass; bring a snack, whatever keeps you going-before you start writing, so thirst or an angry tummy doesn’t distract you.
  3. If you must read what you’ve already written to keep going, resist the urge to edit. There will be time for editing later. The purpose of this project is to get the story down, even if it doesn’t flow together as smoothly as you want.
  4. Just write. Set a goal on the number of words you want to write, and keep going until you complete it. And, don’t stop just because you meet your word count. If you’ve still got words in you, put them on the page.
  5. Before you leave your project, start the next scene, even if it’s just a sentence or two. This will save you time going back to read.
  6. Reach out to your NaNo buddies through messages on the site or twitter using the hashtag #NaNoWriMo. Help, motivation, is only a click away. You can follow along with the discussions too.
  7. Download the free trial of Scrivener from the NaNo site. Take the day today to get to know it. I hear it’s wonderful for keeping notes and storing information for scenes you will write later in your story.
  8. Relax. It’s only as hard as you make it. You’re a writer. You have the words in you. You can do this.

Good luck!


13 Responses

  1. Tara R. says:

    Good luck! It’s fun to know other writers involved in this 30 days of crazy. Your list has some great ideas, and I especially like #5. Getting a jump start on each leg of the challenge does help a lot.

  2. Kathy J says:

    Starting NaNo tomorrow as well. The “A Novel Idea” app is cool. I may give that a whirl on my iPhone!

  3. Carrie says:

    I’m hoping to get my Rachel story done with NaNo this year….but i’m also trying to work on and fix up last years novel since that was what i pitched at the conference. I suspect besides presceheduled book reviews my blog will be quiet 🙂

    • SAM says:

      I think I may manage some of the flash prompts here and there, but I’m going to take a break from Scriptic for the month I think.

  4. Sean J says:

    I’ve never done NaNo before though I’ve been following it the past two years. I’ve decided to jump in with both feet. Starting with only some ideas in my head and no true, advanced planning, I will set a word# goal for each day and commit to completing my goals, thought I’m not quite sure what the end result will be. Good luck and thanks for this post today, I need to read these kinds of thing to convince myself it will be worth my time 🙂

    • SAM says:

      It is worth your time, even if you never do anything with it. There’s a certain sense of pride and achievement that comes with hitting that 50K mark and watching your NaNo meter say You Won!

      You can totally do this. I have faith in you! One of those NaNo links up there goes to my page if you’d like to add me as a friend.

  5. Best of luck! I don’t NaNo, but I’m cheerleading from the sidelines.

  6. Chelle says:

    Oh how I needed these awesome tips. I will be stepping out of my comfort zone of short stories and try to get past that block which sits and dares me to move it.

    • SAM says:

      I have full confidence in you, Chelle. Instead of dwelling on the 50k word count, think of it as any other serial you have written. The only difference is, here you can blow up taht scene, overwrite to your hearts content.

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