Ready Or Not, Here It Comes: NaNoWriMo

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What if you can write a novel in 30 days? That’s right, you’ve guessed it, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up.

Despite any perceived shortcomings to this call, NaNoWriMo is a shoutout to all writers. It's like a kick in the butt by your best friend in an attempt to throw reality in your face.

Any writing initiative should be encouraged, and when it’s accompanied by thousands of people who are thrown in the same boat with you, fighting the dragon, climbing the magic mountain, then even better.

national novel writing month, discipline, writing

Photo by mpclemens

Rather than going through the facts and stats, conditions, and how it works (all of which you can find on the official website), let’s look through the required psychological and intellectual effort as a preparation for those who are considering giving NaNoWriMo a go:

1. Planning

Without having at least a little bit of planning done, then writing a novel in thirty days cannot only get way messy and easier to give up, but you may end up with a non-usable draft. Unconnected scenes, bad writing and underdeveloped characters can all be corrected later; a novel with an unclear message and characters with shifting pillar traits from chapter to chapter is harder to fix.

To avoid losing precious days in November thinking about what kind of novel you should write, or shaping your protagonist, spend the next two weeks planning your upcoming writing month.

If the novel you’re going to write requires lots of research, get a pile of books from the library and start reading. If you need to work on the characters, do that; if outlining is your style, then certainly do an outline. Whatever preparations you usually have, do the same now, if not even more. This will help your whole writing process and can determine whether you actually go through with it or not.

2. Discipline

Seriously, what doesn’t require discipline? Yet, it has to be mentioned because it’s the only thing you need to complete 1,666 words a day. Think of climbing Kilimanjaro or going to Mars. How much time in training do you need in order to be able to do these achievements? Months, years, decades?

Writing a novel in thirty days is your Kilimanjaro and your training is all the preceding time you’ve invested in writing or thinking about writing, reading more books than your town’s local library, taking notes, listening to your muse.

3. Editing

NaNoWriMo is about quantity over quality. Switch off your editing voices and turn on the storytelling mode. The goal is to get your story told, your words flowing, your characters doing, and your sentences multiplying. Remember that this is just a draft that you’ll return to once you finish your story. This may also be helpful in achieving your daily word-count. Just keep going without turning back.

If it seems difficult, remember the legend of Orpheus who went to the Underworld to save his beloved Eurydice from the dead under one condition—that he would walk in front of her and never look back. As one may suspect, he did look back and his beautiful wife disappeared back into death. The lesson: don’t look back at your work because it may vanish under your editing fingers or recycle bin as a result of your frustration.

4. Self-Accountability

Though you’ll have a whole wide community as support when times get tough and it becomes difficult to continue, rely on yourself. Self-accountability is crucial to sustaining your effort, because giving up on yourself is more disappointing than any goal you may have. Hold yourself accountable from the very start and revisit your accountability every now and then to keep your goals in check.

Perhaps you won’t write THE book you’ve had imagined or the perfect draft, but what you’ll certainly achieve by participating in NaNoWriMo is building a habit of writing. Leo Babuta from Zen Habits says that building any habit takes about thirty days. Do you need a better reason to join this worldwide writing revolution?

PRACTICE

For fifteen minutes write about what kind of book you have been intending or wanting to start, or describe a character that will drive the whole story, or even a short outline for a writing project. Please share your practice in the comments section and don’t forget to support other practitioners with your advice and support.

Sophie Novak is an ultimate daydreamer and curious soul, who can be found either translating or reading at any time of day.
She originally comes from the sunny heart of the Balkans, Macedonia, and currently lives in the UK. You can follow her blog and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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123 Comments

  1. Chihuahua Zero

    Okay, you’re giving me an excuse to work on my NaNoWriMo project.

    By the way, I’ll be interested in the forum!

    Reply
  2. Eelopez

    Perfect timing! I just signed up for NaNoWriMo yesterday and used ‘6 Steps to Choosing Your Next Writing Project’ this morning for some brainstorming and I’m getting closer to finding an idea.

    Yes, please set up a forum!

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      That’s fantastic! The forum will be set very soon.

      Reply
  3. Katie Axelson

    Thanks for the tips, Sophie. I won NaNo last year but I think I’m going to opt out this year. Working six writing/editing jobs and then writing a novel in a month on top of blogging and having a life just isn’t feasible. Although, since my roommate is participating, I’m sure I’ll type more words than normal which I’m excited about.

    Katie

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Wow, that’s a lot of writing. Having a writing buddy is something I’ve been dreaming about; it must be so great to have such support at home. 

      Reply
      • Katie Axelson

        I’m the drill sergeant in the relationship. 🙂

        Reply
        • Sophie Novak

          Haha, maybe you should come for a sleepover at my place some day. 

          Reply
          • Katie Axelson

            Haha! Next time she’s fussing at me, I’ll tell her I have a friend on the other side of the world who’d love this kind of accountability. 😉 (She might kick me all the way to your house so beware)

  4. Jason Dookeran

    I’ve written in four NaNoWriMo’s and finished two. The novel I ultimately finished for commercial purposes wasn’t a NaNoWriMo child, but came from the experience of completing a few NaNoWriMo’s myself. I’ts refreshing finishing one but My Word it’s a lot of work >.<

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      It’s a hell of a work, but it sounds worth it in the end right? You seem to have achieved a lot from it and serves like a big encouragement for the rest. Thanks Jason!

      Reply
  5. Vito M

    Last year, my friends and I competed together as a way to encourage each other. Even though I was in graduate school and had several other writing assignments to finish, I still managed 45,000 words.
    This year, all of us plan on winning and Planning and Discipline definitely need to be a HUGE part of the plan. Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      You’re welcome! You’ve come almost there last year, and I’m sure you’ll manage to do a lot more this time. Feel free to invite your friends to the NaNoWriMo forum once it’s launched. 

      Reply
  6. Kristin_theschellcafe

    I signed up for my first NaNoWriMo. I spent the weekend teaching myself how to use Storyist and am working on my outline and characters. I’d love to be part of any forum you put together here. I joined my local group, but am certain I’ll need all the encouragement I can get. Looking forward to getting to know fellow participants.

    http://www.kristinschell.com/nanowrimo-what-tha/

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Go for it Kristin! Many more will be in the same boat, pushing through the days. 

      Reply
  7. Sayyada Dharsee

    I first did NaNoWriMo last year, and while it’s going to be even harder this year (exams, religious events and the obligatory stomach issues that crop up whenever I have exams) I’m determined to reach 50K.

    It would be great if we had a forum—I already spend way too much time on the NaNo forums, another place to procrastinate will be even better!

    For everyone still undecided, look at it this way: when everything is going downhill and your character is unrecognisable, you have a licence to kill him/her off with a Travelling Shovel of Death and add someone new—Mr. Ian Woon!

    What other writing competition lets you do that?

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Haha, great point there Sayyada. Glad to have you on board.  

      Reply
  8. Gina Elder

    Awesome! I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time last year and absolutely loved it! I joined up with a local group and met other writers from all different walks of life. I cannot wait to do it all over again. 🙂 

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Your words shine with positiveness. Glad to have you on board Gina!

      Reply
  9. Mirelba

    I’ve already signed up for my first NaNoWriMo, and have been working on research the last few days.  A bit frustrating that, as I’m having problems finding information. 

    As far as the book itself, I want to write a book that will tell the story of both the family that saved my father and his family during the Holocaust and the experiences of my father and his family during that time period.  It will probably be a fictionalized version since most of the characters are long since deceased and I have only basic information to work on.  I know  just the general outline of what happened from information that I received from my uncle last year when I wrote up the application to have the family recognized as Righteous of the Nations.   I have been trying to uncover more information about their experience (from other sources, people hidden in the forest at the time of the Soviet National Uprising, etc), but haven’t found that much information yet in languages that I speak and read, but I’m still digging.  Actually found some stuff online last night and today.  And I’m waiting for the granddaughter of the family to translate material about her grandparents into English for me.  I wrote up a very sparse outline as well based on the information on hand.  It will probably need to be totally revised, but it’s a start.

     I don’t expect to finish the project by the end of November, but I figure that at least it will give me a serious push in the right direction (or should I say the write direction?). 

    A forum sounds interesting.

    Reply
    • mariannehvest

      That sounds like a great idea for a novel and a good experience for you as well.  I hope it’s not too heartbreaking.  I’m sure it will be a good.

      Reply
      • Mirelba

        Thanks. My father was lucky- he and his nuclear family survived. They have many stories of truly miraculous events which helped them through those difficult, heartbreaking times. My mother’s story is far more heartbreaking, maybe that’s why I’m saving it for later.

        Reply
        • mariannehvest

          When we write about the heartbreaking/heartfelt kind of stuff , the writing is better I think.  A good reader gets the authenticity of emotion that happens in work which is grounded in a real family/home etc. even though it is fiction.  It gives an element of truth.  I know that the stories I’ve cried over while writing are my best.  

          Reply
          • Mirelba

            I agree with you. Hope it works with this as well 🙂

    • Sophie Novak

      Sounds like a great project Mirelba. Research and finishing is important, but not as much as doing the work and eventually it will take you somewhere. If you haven’t read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s search for meaning, it may be a fantastic read on the topic you’re exploring for the novel. 

      Reply
      • Mirelba

        Hmmm. I have read it, but that’s a thought. Maybe I’ll reread it now.

        Reply
    • Ellie

      you may find the book Defiance (also a film) could be useful for research – tells the story about polish jews surviving in the forest around poland  – will give you some useful background info about how they survived in forest i.e. types of dwellings, what they used for medical issues, what they ate, how they organized groups into foragers and cooks etc etc

      Good luck -sounds like a fascinating story.

      Reply
      • Mirelba

        Thanks! I’m looking more for Slovakia, but I’ll take what I can get 🙂 That’s exactly the kind of information I’m looking for. It’s an amazing story, and the family that saved them is truly an amazing family. They deserve to have their story told.

        Reply
        • Ellie

          lol I want to read your book now 🙂  

          Sir Nicholas Winton (also known as the British shindler ) organized a kindertransport to save the czech jews so that might also give some background on what it was like living in Slovakia for Jews at the start of the war before they went into hiding maybe.

          You can find a lot of stuff from his wikipedia page. 

          Good luck, think I might look into this nano stuff.  I love the Write Practice so far. 

          Reply
          • Mirelba

             Thanks!  I’ve actually read about Sir Winton.  He saved several hundred Czech children.  Conditions in Prague (where Winton was active) and the Czech area were very different from Slovakia.  Slovakia was actually independent during WWII, under the leadership of Tiso, and has a different wartime history.  Slovakia was the only country that actually paid the Germans for every Jew expelled, but they also managed to halt expulsions between the end of 1942 and 1944.   (See, I have done some homework )But I really appreciate all the ideas.

        • Sophie Novak

          It really does sound like a fascinating story. I’ll probably cry reading it. 

          Reply
          • Mirelba

             I’ll keep you posted.  we were in Slovakia last spring, and saw the house and the forest where they hid.  Planning another trip this winter.

    • Katie Axelson

      This sounds really interested, Mirelba. Keep us updated!

      Reply
  10. Chris Wilson

    Thanks for the…er writing prompt! I tried to do NaNoWrMo last year but didn’t really plan well and only really realised it was coming about 2 days before! I didn’t really get stuck in at all and quickly stopped when other work commitments came up. I’m excited to give it a try this time so wish me luck! 

    Reply
    • Katie Axelson

      I didn’t plan for NaNo last year either. Luckily, I was unemployed so I had a lot of time to crank out words and research simultaneously. The novel’s junk but I’m still proud to call myself a winner.

      Reply
  11. mariannehvest

    This sounds horrible as an outline but here is my idea and I will be participating. I would like to participate in a forum.

    I’m going to write about Katherine who finds out that her x-husband, whom she hasn’t thought about much for twenty years (she’s remarried, relocated and has children) is dead. She doens’t know how he died and cannot find an obit or any other information on the internet. She is shocked by the news of his death and is worried because he was a bad guy (almost sociopathic but still lovable in a way) and was fairly young (about 50 I think). She tries to put him out of her mind but can’t.  She tried to track down people who might know what happened and does eventually find out what happened to him.  
    The “character change” in the story is related to Katherine leaving him when she was married to him. I have to figure out how to get from her searching for him on the internet in the present to twenty years ago which is where the story really happens.  There is a lot of ambivalence about leaving him because; despite the fact that he is a thief; a lier; and an x-felon, he is sexy and devoted to her in his way, and Katherine  likes to get stoned and play cards and “escape reality” with him.  Also he was an abused child so she feels sorry for him, feels like if she just loves him enough he will change. There is good in him but it won’t come out. She also knows that she is not “good” and he is not “bad”, and that idea that we are not all good or all bad but have out own reality becomes clear to her as part of her experience instead of just as something she has learned.  
    Her friend, X, wants Katherine to leave him , seeing how bad he is for her and of course the friend is only seeing Katherine’s  side not his.  K does finally move out, and thinks it is all over.  She forgets about him but then she finds out that he is dead (in the beginning of the book) and I hope I will come to some understanding of the kind of commitment that made her love him.  
    I basically only have a vague outline of the story, the two main characters (who I know will slip away all over the place once I’m writing) and the idea of the “change in the main character” being when she does move.  It is a change that happens more due to outside forces than to her inner self though and that is what I want to find out about in writing this.  Well I forgot to set the timer. Sorry. What do you think.

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      I think it’s a great idea – especially with the character’s gradual transformation. Here’s a thought: perhaps you can switch constantly from present to past, like a double narrative, thus illustrate the change in her by the end. 

      Reply
      • mariannehvest

        Wow thanks Sophie. That’s a great idea.  

        Reply
        • Sophie Novak

          My pleasure Marianne. You’ll show us an excerpt later on right? 

          Reply
          • mariannehvest

            Certainly.  I hope we have some write practices that go along with NaNoWrMo in November also.  That is a lot of words to write per day. 

        • Mirelba

           Funny, I had the same idea as Sophie, to switch from present to past  all the time.  Great minds think alike and all that 🙂

          I think it sounds really good! 

          Reply
          • mariannehvest

            Thanks Mirelba.  I’m excited about the whole thing.  This is going to be fun!!! 

    • Juliana Austen

      I wonder if you could write the past from the guy’s point of view and the present from Katherines’s?

      Reply
      • Marianne

        Thanks Juliana.  I’ll think about that.  

        Reply
    • Kate Hewson

      Sounds like an interesting storyline, and I like the ideas other people had about  switching back and forth in time. It looks like it will be both fun and heartbreaking for you when you start to delve into Katherine’s feelings and motivation. It sounds like you are invested in your character already!

      Reply
      • mariannehvest

        Thanks Kate.  I have written about her in several short stories.  I might change her name.  

        Reply
    • Katie Axelson

      Yup, I agree with Sophie, flashbacks will be a huge part of writing this. 🙂

      Reply
    • Oddznns

      It sounds good and it looks like it’s getting a grip on you already. Looking forward to reading more.

      Reply
    • Oddznns

      I tried writing a whole novel in parallel time frame (jumping from one period to another). It got terribly confusing and all my beta readers hated it.

      I was thinking you might have her in the present and doing the searches on the internet and then … getting to an event that’s like pivotal… say … reading about something he did… which is a repeat of the thing he did to her that forced her to leave him! And then begin to work backwards  from that leaving him to maybe the start of the relationship and all that was sweetness and light then…

      Which of course brings her back to the present and acceptance.

      Reply
      • mariannehvest

        Thanks for the good ideas.  I am having a hard time figuring it out with shifting back and forth.  In the short story it is mostly in dialogue and flashbacks (and is a total mess at this point).  I like your idea of her reading about something the did that was a repeat of the things that caused the breakup.  

        Reply
  12. Amanda Bretz

    I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ve been preparing throughout October, learning Scrivener, outlining, even working ahead on my blog.

    Reply
    • mariannehvest

      Good luck with Scrivener.  I got it an somehow imported everything on my desktop and destroyed the hard drive on my computer.  Just be careful about what you import. Other than that, I’ve found it to be a great help.  It even has a thing that generates names.  

      Reply
      • Kate

        Hi Marrianne – how did Scrivener mess up your hard drive?? Slightly worried…

        Reply
        • Bruce Humphrey

          Seems like a coincidence… the hard drive was ready to give up the ghost, and it happened when it had to work. 

          Good idea is to have always a backup. For your writing, for example, you could have a free dropbox account, and store there your texts. That way, you have it always on your computer and in the cloud.

          I love scrivener, by the way.

          Reply
          • Kate Hewson

            Ok…maybe I’ll give it a go then! thanks

        • mariannehvest

          I think Bruce may be right.  I’m horrible with electronics. The thing is when I just tried to import some stuff without going back over the tutorial i imported my whole desktop to scrivener. Then the computer started to go very slowly, and in about a week it just showed a question mark on the screen (I have a mac) and then it went blank. It could have been a coincidence.  Scrivener is great otherwise and I’ve never heard of it crashing anyone else’s computer. I  do think if you get it you should  really follow the directions and not just try to use it intuitively (like many of us writers/artists do). That was what I was saying in my first post.  I am still glad I have it, and I use it now that the computer is fixed.

          Reply
          • Bruce Humphrey

            I completely agree… do take your time with the tutorial and videos. It’s a very good investment of your time!!

    • Sophie Novak

      Perfect Amanda! Planning and preparation is crucial. 

      Reply
    • Adam Smusch

      Oh my god I love Scrivener. 

      Reply
    • Oddznns

      Scrivener is really good for Nanowrimo because you just write chunks and then you can re-order them however you like. I hate it for editing though. Somehow, can’t get my eyes around the words properly.  But then Nanowrimo’s not for editing is it.

      Reply
      • Paul Caudell

        I’m using Yarny instead, a simplified version of that…it’s cloud based as well so I can work at home and during my lunch break. To be honest writing in chunks makes things so much easier-for me at least-to attack something as big as 50,000. I’m a total n00b at writing but I’m excited and scared about my first NaNo!

        Reply
  13. Amanda Bretz

     I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ve been preparing throughout October, learning Scrivener, outlining, even working ahead on my blog.

    Reply
  14. Mirelba

    Question:  Scrivener and Storyist have been mentioned below.  Somebody up to elaborating and giving input?

    Reply
    • Mirelba

       Okay, just saw: Storyist is for Mac and ipad…

      Reply
      • mariannehvest

        Scrivener is for both I think, and I like it.  It takes a while to go through the tutorial but I find it really helps me organize, and that is quite a task believe me.  I couldn’t work it without the tutorial though.  You can keep research and character sketches with what your are writing and it has outlines for character sketches and for settings. It has an excellent grammar checker too way better than the ones on word or pages.   It checks for voice and overused words. tiT

        Reply
        • Mirelba

           Sounds good.  I guess I’ll try downloading it next week so I can practice using it before november.  Thanks!

          Reply
          • Katie Axelson

            Here are Joe’s thoughts on Scrivener: https://thewritepractice.com/scrivener/
            I downloaded it and did the tutorial but haven’t really used it.

          • Mirelba

            Thanks, that was helpful!

  15. Shaquanda Dalton

    I’ve never participated before but this year I’m going to write my second novel in my series for NaNoWriMo. Thanks for posting.

    Reply
  16. Feena

    I succeeded last November and also at Camp NaNo in August. This year I’m going to be a rebel and continue with that August fantasy novel. I’ll only count what I write in November and I’m determined to get to 50k again. I use Scrivener as well, I couldn’t have succeeded without it.

    Reply
  17. Jackie D

    Hi there.  Long time listener, first time caller, as they say. 🙂  I’m in for NaNoWriMo.  Excited, but all my ideas are half-baked for it.  I’m planning to give it a good go. Hopefully I’ll even have a plot or something by November 1st.

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      That’s great Jackie! Thanks for joining. 

      Reply
  18. Jte3rd

    I did NaNoWriMo for the first time last year.  I spent October making notes, thinking up potential scenes.   When time came to write, it didn’t take long to move completely away from my script.  I wrote 2 stories for a total of 80K words (less impressive than it sounds; I’m retired) and there’s one I may go back to and try to revise one day, but the other is pretty useless.  This year, it I do it (probably will) I’m going to pick a character out of a hat on day one and just start writing scenes from all different eras of that character’s life.  No October planning.  No worrying about what the story might be.  No bonus words, just 1667 a day.

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      It’s great that you’re experimenting and trying a new approach this year. I hope it works for the best for you. 

      Reply
  19. Mizzadventure

    I am excited that you’ll offer a forum for NaNoWriMo writers! I am a newbie and will appreciate the encouragement and camaraderie! Thanks for the NaNoWriMo tips!

    Reply
  20. Sarah Hood

    Hm. I don’t think it’s possible for me to write 1,666 words a day. I’m doing good to get in 700 a day! I’m such a slow writer. But, who knows. I’ve got this novel I’ve been planning for awhile, and I’m really close to starting it. So I just may give NaNoWriMo a shot…..we’ll see.

    Reply
  21. Chihuahua Zero

    Okay, throughout the day, I’ve been outlining my NaNoWriMo project using 
    Alexandra Sokoloff ‘s method: http://alexandrasokoloff.com/

    I’m considering switching to the eight-sequence structure now, since I understand it.

    Reply
  22. Jeff Ellis

    I am really excited for this. More than finishing a story or draft, habit is the one thing I feel is important to getting my writing career going. I feel that I don’t write enough and November will change that for me. I know it will 🙂 

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Great to hear this Jeff. First discipline and then habit – that’s prerequisite for a fruitful writer. 

      Reply
      • Jeff Ellis

        I couldn’t agree more Sophie. Thanks for putting the word out about NaNoWriMo 🙂

        Reply
      • Jeff Ellis

        Thanks for the encouragement Kate!

        Reply
    • Bruce Humphrey

      I’m going at it for the same reason… habit creation.  

      Reply
      • Jeff Ellis

        Best of luck Bruce! Feel free to shoot me a message on the site if you ever need anything. We’re all in this together 🙂

        Reply
        • Bruce Humphrey

          Does anyone know how the buddy option in NaNoWriMo site works, and what it gives?  That would be helpful, if it allows you to see the progress of your mates. Then you can inquire, give support, etc

          Reply
          • Jeff Ellis

            I’m not certain as to what all it will provide for us, but it’s an easy way to keep track of your friends, if only through having a quick link straight to their NaNoWriMo novel 🙂

  23. Kate

    I signed up a week or so ago, giving NaNoWriMo a go for the first time. I’m now freaking out to see you are all planning to use writing programmes…I was just going to throw it all out on Word. I nearly bought Scrivener a few weeks ago – where is the best place to get it from? Worried that it messed up someone’s hard drive…

    The story I intend to write is actually the prequel to my WIP. It’s a back story I have had in my mind for a while, and I thought it might be fun to write it as a book itself, even if it only serves to help me write the WIP. My main character is a Gypsy, so i have been researching the gypsy way of life, which is fascinating and very varied depending  on what you read. I’m thinking of amalgamating all the interesting facts I have read, and inventing a few things of my own, to come up with my own tribe culture and traditions. I’m also hoping to think of another term other than ‘Gypsy’ which I understand is thought derogatory?

    My story will be about how a Non-Gypsy person falls in love with her, and how she ends up leaving her tribe for him, and the conflicts she feels. Ultimately though, she has a secret that her lover will not be able to reconcile himself with. I’m really looking forward to writing it!

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Kate, I really like your topic and concept. Coming from a country where Gypsy population is quite big, I can say they have very different culture of living than most places in the world. Also, they are called Roma people; Gypsy is in fact considered derogatory. 

      Reply
      • Kate Hewson

        Yes, i read somewhere that it was. I’m kind of nervous about using Roma as well, in case I end up inadvertently offending anyone when I completely mess up the culture and traditions…maybe I need to come up with my own name for my travelling people…

        Reply
        • Sophie Novak

          Roma is used widely and they like being referred to them like that. Otherwise, nomads is always available. 🙂 

          Reply
          • Kate Hewson

            Maybe I’ll go with Roma then. Ok thanks!

    • Katie Axelson

      Here are Joe’s opinions on Scrivener with a link to buy it: https://thewritepractice.com/scrivener/

      Reply
  24. Holly

    I’ve participated twice in NaNo. Both times I achieved a working draft of a novel, and I stress the word draft. The idea of NaNo is to get it down on paper, then revise. It is far from a finished product, although I think some NaNo participants think it is. The second time I participated Twitter was available and NaNo does a fabulous job of using that social media device to get you unstuck by providing timed writings and surrounding you with energy when you are tempted to give up. NaNo provides one thing that no other timed novel writing event does – energy. There’s nothing like it I’ve ever experienced. But be careful of the procrastination monster. Forums, and even the Twitter can keep you from your main objective – to write.

    Reply
    • Katie Axelson

      I totally agree with your last comment. I never used half of the NaNo resources because they were just procrastination tools.

      Reply
      • Bruce Humphrey

        The NaNo comics in the NaNo site do show the procrastination a lot… they are quite fun.

        Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Thanks Holly. You’ve said it all: the energy is incredible and this is why thousands of people join and share. As for the finishing, absolutely agree about not having an end product. The writing down is only one step, then all the editing, and reediting, and rereeding. 

      Reply
  25. Bruce Humphrey

    My main intention with NaNoWriMo is to get a write habit.  This is my novel ‘premise’:
    “Jessica Krueger is a crippled, bitter, retired star pilot with a heavy dislike for technology who will have to pilot the most advanced ship ever to save her colony and her family from utter annihilation by a god from Earth’s past.”

    Reply
    • mariannehvest

      That sounds interesting.  I would read it just to see who “a god from Earth’s past” refers to.  Did you outline your plot already?  

      Reply
      • Bruce Humphrey

        Not yet. Just starting.

        Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Wow, gods, pilots, ships – sounds like quite a project. Way to go Bruce. 

      Reply
    • Bruce Humphrey

      By the way, after checking some methods, I decided to go with Ingermanson’s Snowflake method. 
      I had set Scrivener for Sokoloff’s eight sequence method. So probably, it will end being a mixture.
      Let’s see what happens.

      Reply
  26. Antonia

    I’m thinking about participating in NaNoWriMo. I’d really like to, but I’m in Yr 10 and it starts just before my Exam Week.
    Me and a couple of friends are think of starting halfway through and aiming for 25,000 words. I’d really like to have a go, because I’d like to develop a writing habit, and it’d be great to do this just before the summer holidays, and it sounds like a great opportunity.

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      You make your own rules about it – the important thing is to get whatever you want from it: be it motivation, habit, improvement, experience, fun etc. 

      Reply
  27. Renee E Maynes

    My first NanoWriMo experience (four laptops ago) taught me that I COULD write something longer than a short story. It inspired me to start writing again, enter and complete a MFA program and continue to grow as a writer. There is something so liberating about pushing the words out every day with no editor to hold you back. I return to Nano every year as a reminder that I can do it. Also it gives me absolution on housework and cooking for the month of November 😉

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      It’s so refreshing to hear this Renee. I love what you said about feeling liberating to write with nobody to hold you back – very powerful! Thanks!

      Reply
    • mariannehvest

      That is very encouraging. Thanks!

      Reply
  28. Juliana Austen

    Oh dear! I have never done this before, dare I say it I had never heard of NaNoWriMo! But I sure need a kick up the proverbial so taking a deep breath I’m signing up. I have two stories fighting it out in my head over which should be written first – this could get ugly!

    Reply
    • Aparker

      Same with me. I’d never heard of it, but I need the motivation.
      Good luck.

      Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      It’s great that you’re giving it a chance Juliana! Thanks for joining the rest of us. 

      Reply
  29. Charl

    This is really helpful, thanks Sophie. I only decided yesterday to join NaNoWriMo, so the idea is still very fresh and unknown to me. My practice today was perhaps not the best or highly recommended approach- I sat in my Spanish translation class brainstorming around two gingerbreadmen (why not) all the ideas I have for concepts I’d like to put into the story. I even came up with a vague title and recurring motif. I thought of incorporating a story within a story, which would be called ‘A Tale of Woe’. It wasn’t that the Spanish class was boring, far from it, in fact a lot of the things mentioned became inspiration and fear to me, like knives. So I guess I’m making use of serendipity and experimenting with parallel thought trains if that makes sense (because it doesn’t really make sense to me…) But that’s my 15 minutes practice for today. I feel satisfied and peaceful, a nice feeling when normally the mere idea of writing scares the hell out of me! Thanks Sophie, it’s lovely to be in contact with other people in the same boat! 🙂

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      You’re welcome Charl. Writing scares me too, but only before actually starting. Once I do everything fades away and just like you, the feeling of satisfaction and peacefulness come to play.

      Reply
  30. Oddznns

    I’m trying to finish the 3rd round edits for my WIP. Then it’s finished!!!! And there’s a writer’s conference in my city I’ll be going to first week of November. I’ve got that next story about the straight man who paints his staircase pink and then everyone think’s he’s gay buzxzing around my head. I guess I’ll know if I’m going to sign up by end October.

    Reply
    • Sophie Novak

      Don’t be a party-breaker and join us! We need another voice. 🙂

      Reply
  31. David Harris

    I’m contemplating participating.  I have a number of short story series I’m thinking of writing, but I’m not sure if this is the platform for such.  However, I plan on using the month and the NaNoWriMo contest as a guide even if I don’t officially participate.  

    Reply
  32. Bruce Humphrey

    So… can’t find our WritePractice forum for nanowrimo… I remember there was an email stating where it was, but can’t find it either.

    If anyone wants to add me as writing buddy, my user in NaNoWriMo is brucehum

    Reply
    • Joe Bunting

      Hi Bruce. We had some bugs with the forum. I created a facebook group instead. I’ll share it on Nov 1. Thanks for thinking of it. 🙂

      Reply
  33. Areej

    I am an architecture student but enjoy writing as a hobby. I subscribed to The Write Practice a couple of months ago. I enjoy reading the posts and find them quite inspirational. this is my first comment on the website.
    Currently, I am working on a writing project (since the end of 2013) which is dragging due to my studies. I hope to complete it and eventually publish it as a novel. It’s about a regular man who loves going on adventures. Each time, he leaves behind his wife and mother. My story explores on how on his latest trip, he disappears while on a dangerous hiking expedition.

    Reply

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