Wednesday, 16 April 2014
I first came to Nanowrimo back in November 2011. If you're not heard of it, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and was set up in the US as a way of encouraging people to write their novels albeit during one month. When you sign up to the site, you are making a commitment to write 50,000 words or more of your novel during November which equates to writing 1,664 words each day. You can get involved in all the online forums for ongoing support and connect with other writers who are writing in a similar genre to yourself, actively seek out other local writers to meet up with during the month or you can simply tap or write away at home on your own and update your stats once every now and again to demonstrate your progress. You can be as involved as you choose to be.
When I initially committed to Nanowrimo, I sought out other writers and met with them regularly especially in the early stages of November. It was fun to meet with other people all aiming for the same outcome, although at the very first meeting I was a little surprised that everyone in the group seemed to want to write an apocolyptic or science-fiction novel. I guess it was the genre that was most popular at that particular time, or it was in the city of Chester in the North West of England. I was a little apprehensive to tell the group that I wanted to write a non-fiction self-help book that involved cake recipes and coaching techniques but hey they seemed to accept me anyway :-) I hadn't realised at the start that I was supposed to be writing a novel having only signed up to the process two days before it started. However, at the end of day one, I changed tack and started to do precisely that. The non-fiction work needed more research and more planning and I if I wanted to keep on target with my 1664 words a day, that simply wasn't going to cut it. I did write 50,000 words and completed the challenge although the last 11,000 words were written in the last two days. It's amazing what you can do if you really put your mind to it and I desparately wanted that bit of paper that said I was winner - I know what can I say!
When I look back now and read what I wrote in those initial stages, I realise just how much I've grown and what I've learned over the last few years. Let's just say there was a lot of Tell and not much Show. However, it was a fabulous experience to throw me into the deep end of creative writing and to get my juices flowing after a long period of stagnancy.
One of the main purposes of Nanorwimo is to encourage you to write everyday and also to forget about your editor. It's about letting go and getting the words down on paper. The view is that you can edit in December or January or whenever you want to. But in November - just write and keep on writing. It also encourages the habit of writing each day or that's what supposed to happen. You're not really supposed to write that last 11k words in the last two days - but I'm human and my wedding anniversary falls in November and once you get behind it can be tricky to catch up - those were my excuses anyway. If you think you'd like to give it a whirl, you can find all the details on their website here
For those of you who follow Jeff Goins, he set up something very similar this year. He asked people to commit to writing 500 words each day during January. He also made no stipulations about the type of writing you had to do and so people have worked on their novels, written Blog posts, stories and I'm sure there must be some others like me that have become more dedicated at writing in their journals. You can find out more by joining the Facebook page here
It seems that even if you live in the middle of nowhere, the joys of the internet can connect you with other writers who want to share your journey. Nanowrimo and Jeff Goins are two sites I know of that will support and encourage you.
So if you really want to have a crack at that novel, you've still got six months to prepare and plan until November or you can be like me and sign up two days before hand and give it all you've got.