And so it begins

No, not the end of election season — although that will be here soon enough. What I’m talking about is the impetus — and bane — of some many authors’ lives: NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is that time of year when authors strive to finish a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Now, I’ll admit, thinking about writing 50,000 words in a month seems daunting. But, when you break it down, it really isn’t that terrifying. It breaks down to approximately 1,666 words a day. To give you an idea of how long that is, so far I’ve written right at 100 words for this blog entry. So, multiply by 16.6 and you have the daily output for NaNo.

I’ve tried NaNo before and have managed to do it exactly once. It always seems like every time I sign up, something terrible happens during the month to keep me from meeting my goal. Talking to some of my friends, they seem to have the same luck. Some call it the NaNo curse. Others talk about the evils of November. Whatever it is, I’ve decided not to “formally” do NaNo this year. It’s not that I’m superstition, or at least no more superstitious than the next writer. It’s that the “curse” started last night and I don’t want to see it multiply. One death in the extended family is enough.

That said, I’m still going to push through with certain “pledges” regarding my writing. I’m going to finish the “super sekrit project” within the next ten days. One reason is that I am late in delivering it. For another, the characters are making me crazy. I’m ready to move on to the next project which just happens to be the sf novel I’ve been snippeting here for the last few weeks.

Then there’s the next book in the Nocturnal Lives series. I’m looking forward to doing that one. I have the general outline in my head already. The only reason I haven’t written it down is because I know the moment I do, I’ll have to write the book. Most authors I know have a character or characters who are pushy sorts and will require that they be written the moment they are even thought about. Mac and company from Nocturnal Lives are like that for me. So, no writing of the outline — and no real thinking about them — until I have time to sit down and actually write the book.

But back to NaNo. I’ve had folks ask me if they have to actually write something new and if it has to be 50,000 words. If you do NaNo, the basic answer is “yes”. However, the way I look at it is this: what’s important is that you set a goal and you stick to it. If your goal is to blog every day, then use this month to get into the habit. If your goal is to finish editing something and send it off to your beta readers, do that. As far as I’m concerned, the goal of NaNo and the like is to get writers into the habit of writing on a daily basis.

So, if you’re doing NaNo, good luck. If you are setting personal goals and not doing NaNo, good luck. The one thing NaNo offers is a community to cheer you on. If you think you need that, form your own group with like-minded writers. The key is to write.

No, let me correct that. The key is to have fun while you write. If you aren’t enjoying what you do, you’ll rarely finish the project and, if you do, it will show in the finished product.

Now go forth and set your goals and see if you can meet them. I’m doing the same.

Oh, btw, I just wrote over 620 words on this post. So doing 1,666 words in a day is more than doable if you just set aside the time to do it. Good luckQ

1 Comment

  1. First Thought: I’d forgotten, maybe I ought to try again this year. It’ll be fun.
    Second Thought: I’m under the weather, short of ideas, and have other things I really ought to be putting work into instead.
    Much later, Third Thought: a) I can use a series idea that I had worked out some of, as long as I don’t do a story idea I’d already gotten part way into. b) I can get an idea that makes me bounce if I do it this way…

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