What NaNoWriMo Revealed to Me
What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month, writers share a common goal of writing 50,000 words (word count of a novel) from November 1-30th. The organization began 1999 and became a non-profit in 2005. In recent years it has become a sensation among writers, wanna-be writers and readers (you can sign on to be a reader). Last year a total of 351,489 authors participated worldwide. There also other programs offered, aimed at getting people writing all year round. Young Writers Program, Camp NaNWriMo, and the Come Write In project.
Journey as a Writer
My entire life I have wanted to be a writer. I’d write short stories, by hand, and make my parents and their friends listen to them. As I got older and busy with life (college, boys, everything), I still always kept in mind that writing a book was something I will do.
I am extremely thankful for the initiative. My journey as a self-identified writer has always been about finding peers and confidence. Being in this challenge with authors all around the world and connected through social media #NaNoWriMo. Authors sharing their word counts and leaving motivational comments when those were suffering from writer’s block. We are all in this together.
It truly was fate that led me to it. During a dark time for me towards the end of last summer, I began working on my novel again. One that I have been kind of writing since 2011. For motivation, I began researching how to get published, advantages of self-publishing, and even how to find an agent. I was really getting serious about it. It has always been one of my biggest dreams. And on a random site, there it was. NaNoWriMo. Being that it was only a couple months away at that point, it gave me enough time to prepare. The timing was perfect.
My Experience as a First-Timer Last Year
My experiences and encounters in the Valley Arts District and throughout my 20’s have given me such inspiration. The loose ideas and characters always swarming around in my head, and at this time it became too overwhelming. I had to get it out. September of last year, I began an insane outline using the snowflake novel design method. Fleshing out plots, sub-plots, characters and just recently figured out somewhat of the ending to my first novel I hope will be a series.
At first, I was nervous to even announce that I was participating on social media. And as November 1st grew closer, I was hesitant to even begin. I was afraid of setting myself up for a failure. Luckily, I got over that and it ended up being such a fulfilling experience I look forward to every year now.
For the 2015 NaNoWriMo, I was a winner, completing 50,000 words right on the nose. I must admit counting the words per session added a lot of fun to the exercise. (Odd fact, I was most productive on Thursdays)
What I Learned from the NaNoWriMo Experience
The word alone scares me as it is something that I feel I have not quite learned. However, having this goal of writing 50,000 words or a novel in 30 days made me buckle down and learn to have some. I now have inherited the daily habit of waking up at 7am every morning. I am still trying to make that earlier. You had to write 6,667 words daily to reach the goal. You have to put yourself in the position to write as much as you can during November. In my case, I had to make sure I was at least in front of my computer with the document open.
How to Conquer Procrastination and Lead to Procrastination
- Music: I also discovered the music streaming service, Tidal at the same time as Nanowrimo. So I made a playlist of songs that opened my mind and creativity. Any songs with lyrics that can serve as inspiration, Lift-Off is a good one. I had a lot of breakthroughs listening to that song.
- Cool Mug of Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Beverages: I tried my hardest not to overdose on caffeine, so I also bought some good herbal teas for those late nights. A cute mug also helps on the eyes. I plan on buying a Nanowrimo mug for this year.
- Get Some Air: Take a walk to the store or something, stand outside for a little bit. I hope the weather still permits a bike ride. I have come up with some really good ideas this way. I also am excited to jump back in front of my computer once I am back home.
- Don’t Waste Time Editing: Just get it out. Dedicate time for that later.
- Time Segmentation: During crunch time, I would close all browsers, no social media and write in hour segments. Like literally give yourself a time and don’t stop writing until it is that time. You’d be surprised how many words you can clock in that way, not to mention getting further into writing your story.
I Love What I Do
Nano taught me or more, reassured me that I LOVE writing. I am a journalist, but this separated the two for me. Novelist and journalist. Those are two different lanes, and I can now go back and forth. I am blessed, that they can also compliment and fuel each other. And it all comes from the heart. Even with the impending goal 50,000 words! I still enjoyed every minute of it. I have not completed my novel, but this initiative allows me to continue to plan, research, and then write! write! write! during the month of November. I can not wait to begin this year!
This year I am not in as much of an obsessed planning mode for it. But I was working on the outline and novel this past summer so I can easily pick up where I left off. I am so excited! My schedule is much busier and hectic this time around so it will definitely be more of a challenge. I want to jump in!
Career as Writer
At this moment, I want to keep living. As that has been the best source of inspirations. Some stuff, you can not even make up. I will continue to work on my novel until it is ready and completed. I do not only want to publish a novel, I want to release something great. I hope to be published before I turn 30, but time goes by so fast. Plus, nothing ever goes as planned.
To learn more about Nanowrimo visit www.nanowrimo.org
Have a Nanowrimo experience you want to share? Also contact me!
See you all Tuesday, November 1st !
Word Count: 1,143 🙂