How Do You NaNoWriMo?

So, as many of you know, Realist and I are participating in National November Writers’ Month, which challenges writers to write 50,000 new words by the end of November. We decided that maybe if we share what works for us, you WriMos could offer some advice to us. So, here goes…

Da Hype 1

No word shaming

No Word Shaming!

1. I prepare for NaNoWriMo by creating a working outline. I try to start a couple of months in advance so that I can add ideas here and there as they emerge. I use vague terms and ideas, with hopes of exploring them throughout the writing process. Most ideas make it in the actual draft, while others don’t. Sometimes, I explore the ideas in ways that I never imagined. So, be flexible.

2. I write on Google Drive, that way I have access to my documents on my laptop, tablet, and smartphone. This helps me mostly when it comes to my outline. This way, I am able to add an idea or two to my outline whenever/wherever I am.

3. I don’t “word shame.” Sometimes I reach my word count goal, other times I do not. I really try to make 1,666 words each day, but sometimes I just can’t. Fitting 50,000 words into your month is not an easy fete. If it were easy, everyone would have written a novel. I don’t make myself feel ashamed about not being able to accomplish my goal, I just work extra hard to find time another day to make up for the time I lost writing.

 

Da Realist 1

Image Courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Image Courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

As you can see, Hype is really organized when she writes. She gets her outline in order before she begins. She also made a spreadsheet (that she shared with me) to log the number of words that she has written each day. Although I marvel at her process, I #NaNoWriMo quite differently.

Having tried my hand at novel writing in previous years, I am convinced that I am no novelist, but I did want to participate. I decided I would modify the process by making it nonfiction. When I tell stories about my family, I always crack people up. (Well, maybe just Hype, and she may be a bit biased.) I decided to write about my grandparents. I was fortunate to have known my grandparents and most of my great-grandparents and to have had special relationships with all of them. I’ve wanted to do this for a while. If you think about it, it’s still NaNoWriMo–National Nonfiction Writing Month. But guess what, someone has has already thought of this. (Click the links for more info.)

I wish I could say there is a specific method to my madness, but there isn’t. I’m not even sure what I will do with stories/histories/thoughts/feelings I am recording; I just feel compelled to write them. I just get out my little notebook and smooth writing pen, think about my loved ones, and I write. I write longhand rather than at my computer. I enjoy writing like this. For me it feels more thoughtful and creative and less like work.

So, 2 Dope followers, that’s how we do it. How do you NaNoWriMo?

 

NaNoWriMo My Way

NaNoWriMo setupI like a challenge, especially one as gigantic as writing 50,000 words within a month. This is my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo and I intend to win this year by reaching my writing goal. The first year I participated, I wrote about 25,000 words (24,409 words to be exact). For me, I was bothered by the fact that I did not complete the task of writing 50,000 words, but it was pretty amazing to have accomplished what I did on the first go around.

That year, I utilized all of the tools that were provided to help writers become successful. I attended the write-ins at my local Panera and participated in the virtual write-ins as well. They were both an integral part of my success. The Panera write-ins had leaders encouraging us to write, and they gave away small gifts like pencils and erasers. The atmosphere was wonderful: everyone was in the spirit of writing and it diminished the loneliness and isolation that the writing experience often creates. The virtual write-ins also worked because of the writing sprints that were used to push writers to accomplish their daily writing goals.

I remember falling off the writing wagon once Thanksgiving came around. Not only is this time of year hectic because of the impending holiday and all of the preparations that come along with making a family happy and full of turkey, but this time of year is particularly busy for college professors, like myself, who are busy grading papers and getting themselves ready to submit final grades for the semester. So, for those 2014 WriMo newbies, prepare yourself for the business of Thanksgiving.

I am not exactly sure what happened the second and third years, but the writing barely got off of the ground before I quit. This year, however, I’m in the game. I’m barely in the game, but I am definitely playing.

Da Realist 1 wrote a little bit about NaNoWrimo in her post, “Partners in Crime.” In the post, she says that writers are encouraged to write approximately 1,666 words a day. So, when I started writing on day 5, I was already behind by approximately 8,330 words!!

I had already prepared for the month by outlining, but life continued to get in the way and it prevented me from starting on time. I had a job interview for which I had to prepare, too many papers to grade, and my daily responsibilities of chauffeuring my daughter around from one activity to the next. I just could not fit in NaNoWriMo for 4 days.

On the 5th day, I contemplated giving up as I did the previous two years, but then I changed my mind and got in the game.

Somehow, this weekend, I closed the deficit by about 5,000 words. I decided that I may not make 50,000 words by the last day of November, but I will have started a project and a routine of writing that I will not want to give up.

The truth: fitting 50,000 words into your daily routine for a month is challenging, but there is something about having a goal in sight that promotes the act of writing for many of us. By the end of this past weekend, I realized that my ability to write is a super power, and that many people are not capable of doing what I did in one weekend.

Press on WriMos, and keep writing.

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For more information about National November Writers’ Month, click on this hyperlink for their website. They do a great job of preparing writers before November and encouraging writers all year round.

Partners in Crime

IMG_1005 (2)Have you ever had a friend who is always getting you into. . . (ahem) “things”? Well, I do.  I’m looking at you, Hype 1. I wouldn’t say she gets me into trouble, but we do have adventures. She has a unique ability to get me to try new things, sometimes dragging me along kicking and screaming because I am essentially a “stick-in-the-mud” kinda girl. Hype has gotten me hooked on various podcasts and persuaded me to get a Kindle years ago. She also introduced me to Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest. Part of me thinks that she gets me to try new things just so she’ll have a “partner in crime.”

A few years ago Hype asked me casually, “Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?” I asked, “NaNoWri Who?” Seriously though, I’m pretty sure I asked, “What is that?” National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November. It is a national challenge to write a novel in a month, spending time each day in November writing, in an effort to reach the goal of a draft of a 50,000 (an average of 1,666 words per day) word novel by month’s end.

Hype is a literary scholar; she also writes fiction– short stories and novels. So, it’s not surprising that that NaNoWriMo appeals to her. Even though I am a historian, she seems to think I can write a novel because of the funny/crazy true stories about my life and my family.

Although it wasn’t quite kicking and screaming, I have agreed to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo with Hype. I thought it would be good opportunity to write down some of my stories and get back into blogging. We’re a little tardy to the party, so I’m suggesting that we write from November 3 to December 3.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, let us know. If you think you’d like to try but need more information, check out the National Novel Writing Month website. Happy writing! 🙂