Monday, October 29, 2012

The coming storm

Get your survival gear and batten down the hatches because it's...

        NaNoWriMo!                   (Dun dun dun)

What? Did you think I was talking about Hurricane Sandy?

We inturrupt your regularly scheduled blog for a message from our socially conscious host:

My thoughts and prayers are with those on the East Coast. Stay safe and for heaven's sake, stay home! I know it's not every day a hurricane knocks on your door, but seriously people, don't become victims of storm stupidity. I know the monster waves are cool and you want to witness them first hand, but do you really need to risk getting washed out to sea or impaled by a golf club? God gave us Hi-def TV for a reason. I'm just sayin'.

Now back to the program.

November is nigh and even though there are natural storms and political storms brewing, don't forget to prepare for the annual writing flurry that is NaNoWriMo. Get your personal affairs in order, clean the house (because let's face it, you're not going to be vacuuming when you could be writing instead), stock up on your favorite writing snacks (hopefully healthy ones) and caffeinated beverages, and set the  DVR to record the football games and TV shows.

What's that? You're not doing NaNo this year? Why the hell not?! Just because you don't think you can write 50,000 words in a month doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. I've never written that much in a month and aren't likely to until I can afford to write full-time but I still do a fashion. Rather than a true NaNoWriMo novel, I work on my WIP and set a word count goal that I normally wouldn't reach before the end of the month. In a normal month I write about 500 words a day, six days a week. That's about 13,000 words before edits (because I can't resist the urge to edit). During NaNo I push that daily goal to 1,000 so my monthly goal is only 30,000 words. It never gets me anywhere near the end of my novel, but I'm a lot closer at the end of November than I normally would be. Plus, since it's not a throwaway project that I'm doing just for the sake of NaNo, they're all productive words and I don't have to transition back into the WIP in December either.

If you're not doing NaNo because it conflicts with the holidays or some other activity, don't let that hold you back either. Last year, I started three days late because of my sister's wedding. When Thanksgiving day rolled around, I rose early so I could go for my morning walk and still get some writing in before the baking and festivities began. I even took a night off to go watch The Muppet Movie with Mary Robinette Kowal, Lee Moyer, and Brent Weeks because not even NaNoWriMo was going to make me pass up an opportunity like that. I didn't meet my word goal last year. I was about 8,000 words shy if I recall, but I don't count last year or any year as a failure. The whole point behind NaNo is to get people to stop aspiring of being a writer by being a writer. If I wrote more than my normal word count in November, I count that as a successful NaNo. If I learned how to manage my time better or how to ignore distractions better, than I also count that as a NaNo success.

When it comes to giving gifts, everyone says that it's the thought that matters. I believe that when it comes to NaNoWriMo, it's the intent of NaNo and what you intend to get out of it that matters. Keep that in mind and there's no way you can fail. With that in mind, Happy NaNo everyone!

If you want to keep tabs on how my NaNo is going, I'll be posting regular updates on my G+ and Facebook pages.

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