NaNoWriMo– What is it? And Who is Insane Enough to Attempt It?

10:33! Hey! I told myself I would start writing by 10:30, but like any great writer, procrastination tried to tempt me away. Let’s see in the last hour I have: Fed the dogs, taken down our measly Halloween decorations (Seeing as I worked my decorations consisted of caution tape and a sign begging the tricker-treaters to not enter the yard.) made sure my room was clean, the windows opened, my computer was working properly, my choice of background music was perfect, and my tea was made. And now here we sit.  Procrastinating by writing about everything but the topic at hand! OKAY! Here we go!

Now NaNoWriMo, a project (according to Wikipedia) was started by Chris Baty in 1999 with only 21 writers and in that time it has grown, to over 300,000 participants. From November 1 right through to November 31 at 11:59, the participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel, from start to finish. Ideally it is meant to be an original idea, thought up slightly before or during the challenge itself. To achieve this you must write consistently at about 1,600 words a day. Here’s a handy calendar


(Calendar filched from Google Images but actually the website for this looks helpful and a great tool. Have a peek!)

Now that sounds easy enough and 1,600 words doesn’t seem to be that much until you factor in life, interruptions, distractions and holidays. If you are a student it’s even worse you have all those factors plus school work, midterms and social life. Most writers give up a social life pretty fast in the challenge, opting instead for writing groups, word count challenges etc and basically saying to all non-writer friends, “I will see you after the holidays!”

You do have to be a bit of a masochist to take this on, but that is something every writer is no matter how much we want to deny it. We live in our heads, we write deeply personal items and then we ask the world, the public, to read what we wrote and in their own way judge it. We spend so much time getting to know the ins and outs of imaginary people, to find what makes them tick, makes them human, makes them alive–then we ask those very characters that become like our own children to walk through fire for us and some cases face death all for the sake of plot, drama and tension. And in November we ask  those 300,000 participants to do all this but do it in just 30 days!

I have been a participant of this challenge for about five years. I will admit I never finish. The word count rises, I get scared and I opt out by about week two. But this year! Oy, this year.  I plan to take on this challenge whole heartily, to write to my hearts content and to explore this idea in my head for ages and to finally accomplish something great in regards to writing. As well as keeping up this little blog, I may use this this month as a bit of a journal and venting station. But if you wish to watch my progress personally or participate in this challenge you can get started here. I am under Renee W. Koppelman, come be my buddy!

Well that is the jest of what my next month will be like and now I sign off on the blog and go and start on my novel and to knock those first few 1000 words out of the part! Good Luck to those who take on the challenge!

“Go my book and destroy the world as it is.” -Russell Banks.


No More Excuses!

The writer titles the blog post that might–will– be filled with excuses as to why she hasn’t written anything in almost three weeks.

As a young woman who grew up in a vastly changing world with rapid advancements in technology, I know just how easy it is to get lost in that world. The hours lost just scrolling through the likes of Facebook,Twitter, Pinterest looking at and liking the same things, but if I refresh just one more time there might be an article that will change my life. The days on youtube watching everything from lectures out of TED talks to giggling at the cat and dolphin that formed an unlikely friendship. The weeks that flew right on by after I discovered Tumblr and its vastness of tastes, opinions, fandoms, knowledge and stupidity. As a young woman this is my world, things take value and priority that baffle my parents and some of my older friends.

I wish I could say it was just the internet that was my major distraction, but alas I am a reader. My room is filled with books that I have bought even when I have a mile long To-Read List already. And don’t get me started on the TV shows and movies I have been very interested to see. Being bored isn’t a problem for me and much of my generation, it’s just the plethora of options is so vast we become paralyzed with the choice of it all. As a writer this is toxic, dangerous and it takes a sh*t-ton of deep discipline to see all that glittering distraction and force yourself to be alone with your imagination and face that blank page.

Being a writer and friend of fellow writers, I have heard all the excuses, I have given the excuses also time and time again. The ironic aspect is what we love most in the world is looking at quotes and inspiration from those authors and writers who came before us. We have read in so many ways, in so many languages the only thing we must to do to conquer this is simply to pluck up the courage, turn off the internet, lock yourself away and just write.

And so Here we are. Here I am. Writing. It’s not easy. Writing is never easy, and those who think it is…well they aren’t writers. Because once you have put away the distractions, plucked up your courage, and are facing your blank page with concentration and discipline, the next step is “Well now I am writing. What am I writing? Writing what?” Because if you are like me and you only write when an idea hits and is fully formed and you can play in that world, you lose all the other ideas, all those little glitters of gold you brushed aside from the main prize, the giant golden nugget. But there comes a time when polishing that nugget you realize it’s just gold leafed and you have wasted time and effort on nothing of real substance. Or more like me, so many of your nuggets have been so vast and large just the thought of tackling them is daunting to yourself so you start looking for a way out. I have at least three epic novels in the works, and focusing on just one feels like you have abandoned the others. With this blog I plan to pan for smaller gold pieces while exploring and polishing those giant Novel nuggets over time.

I have said to friends who ask “How’s the blog?” Well! Very well! I have a plan to use it as my NaNoWriMo project actually. Take it little by little, and write a little every day, and what is it they say about doing something for thirty days, you make a habit out of it. Yes it’s perfect, yes I have a plan. A goal. I have control.

I know the truth, I know next month day after day will slip by and the word count for NaNo will rise and by week two I will shrug it off and contribute it to another year lost, what a shame. While almost every fiber of my being is used to this routine, its comfortable, predictable, it’s safe and normal, for me.

You know what? NO. Screw you, old self. I haven’t spent the last year stripping myself down and building myself back up again to be predictable. Screw safe, Screw comfortable, and FUCK Normal. This is how I wish to proceed in the world, and it’s about damn time I apply it to my life and to my writing.

So Yes! I will be writing for NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month), It will be a new fictional story, and it will be fun. Yes, I will be also writing here a little bit every day, because YES damn it, I deserve to gain the habit of writing daily, and to treasure and fight for my writing time.

Holding myself accountable, to earn the title I want so badly. I am a writer. I write. Nothing more, nothing less.

It Begins Here! See you on Sunday!