A Novel in November, what?

So, I’ve decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. From what I’ve managed to gather, only the crazy and the passionate participate. I believe I am both of those things, so I guess it makes sense that I’ve joined up.

If you have never heard about NaNoWriMo, it’s basically a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days (ie. the month of November). Unlike Movember, it’s not a fundraiser, though it’s run by a non-profit organization that also coordinates great literature programs in schools and etc… so if you want to donate – and I think you do – just go here: https://store.lettersandlight.org/donations. Apparently if you donate more than $500, you get cake. If you decide to do such a thing, I will eat your cake for you. I’ll make that sacrifice.

Anyway, here is what will happen in my life and the lives of those participating from sign up to completion. Some of these are predictions and may not actually happen, because I’ve never actually done NaNo before and thus don’t know:

During the month of October (or really any month other than November)
Authors from around the world all sign up

There the authors have access to forums, buddies and handy web word counter things that keep track of their progress. In addition, NaNo has set up Municipal Liaisons (MLs) who organize writing parties, gatherings and challenges for the people in their region. If I’m not mistaken, the MLs are also participating in NaNo, which seems like a crazy amount of work – so kudos to them! They are the craziest and most passionate of us all!

On November 1st, authors start writing furiously… like maniacs

This is the exciting part. The “contest” has begun and like with any other contest everyone gets as much out in the first few days as they can. At least, that’s what I’m expecting to happen, given this is my first year participating. At the very very least, that is what will happen to me, as my ability to continually apply myself to a project that requires more that one or two sit downs is very very limited. Just ask the half finished portrait painting I have stashed away in my spare room. Oh wait, it can’t answer you… she doesn’t have a mouth yet. Or ears for that matter.

If I understand the stuff I’ve read on the website correctly, there are gatherings and writing challenges held throughout the month. The writing challenges are intriguing to me, as they involve incorporating different things into your story. For example, my ML challenged us to create a character that COULD be the hero of the story, if it weren’t for her obsession with cats (ie. her being the cat lady). Oh the joys of trying to figure out how THAT will work!

fyi, that was not a sarcastic statement. It actually IS a joy, because it’s fun… and maybe you just had to be there…

November 15th – Half Way (my prediction)

My bets are that by November 15th I will have completed exactly 10% of my monthly goal. Why? Because I’m a hardcore procrastinator (I got that from my mom). Like, right now, I *should* be crafting my character sheets, plotting my story, developing any side arcs and creating an outline…. instead I’ve spent the morning reading the forums, purchased some NaNo cool stuff that I really do NOT have money for (my credit cards are very angry with me) and am now writing this blog. (for the record, I also slept-in until 1pm because of the self-prescribed coma status I had um… prescribed myself.) If I had to put money on it, I would say that by November 15th all of my first day excitement will be gone and I’ll be chatting to everyone and anyone that is available to chat.

If I try to chat with you, say no. Just say no. Tell me to get back to work. I’ll complain, I’ll mope, but ultimately I’ll get back into the story.

Unless I’ve hit a huge snag I hadn’t foreseen because I didn’t do all of my pre-NaNo plotting work.

November 29th

This is the day I will either be freaking out because I’m close but not close enough to 50,000 words or I’ll be as calm as ever because I’m so far from 50,000 words that I’ll talk about how the experience was totally worth it but I don’t think I’ll do it again. (I’m a giver up-er some times. That’s my fatal flaw. Oooh, I should make that the fatal flaw in my MC… yes. Yes this will work. Now… just let me find my character sheet…. )

November 30th

At 11:59pm all of the authors will have to have had their final drafts submitted. Then, the word counter thingy will tabulate the results and those authors who finished will get a huge pat on the back & bragging rights… and maybe a cool t-shirt! The authors who didn’t finish will also, apparently, get a huge pat on the back! But they’ll forfeit the bragging rights & the t-shirt (though I think you can buy the t-shirts, so if I felt like being dishonest, I could just buy the t-shirt and pretend later in the year that I’d finished…).

But that’s ok, because there will (I think) be a party and the world will continue to run even after such a hectic month of writing furiously.

The End.

Wish me luck! And stay tuned as I will most likely use this blog as a method of procrastination and thus will probably be posting more blogs during November! In fact, I think my next blog will be about how I am (not) preparing for NaNo…

Are you participating in NaNo? Are you not participating but want to tell me how awesome it is that I’m participating? Comment here! I love comments. They make me happy. 

7 Responses to “A Novel in November, what?

  • You have many days to prepare. Procrastination is the Hoekstra station! Leave that station. Work for your goal. Be committed. I will be checking in. Will you give us some hints of your novel along the way? Perhaps we can help…or probably just get in the way! Yeah, we probably would. But know you have a huge family support behind you. Luv ya, Lisa. Go get them girl. (Aunt Carolyn).

    • Thanks Aunt Carolyn! It means a lot to know that my family is cheering for me. I HAVE done a bit of outlining since I posted my blog. Am currently working up some character names and profiles so that I won’t have to spend time thinking them out while I write. I hope to post another blog on my process/progress prior to November. And maybe, during November, I’ll post some of my story too! We’ll see how it goes (it might be complete crap though). Help and other perspectives are always welcome! 🙂

  • The writing challenge sounds interesting. I wish you the best! 🙂

  • I am super excited. I know over the next month you are going to write one kick ass story, feel free to bounce ideas off me (I love doing stuff like that, makes me feel creative without having to actually create..)

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