In Anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2011

31 Oct

Today is October 31, which means tomorrow begins November and the mad month of writing a 50,000 word novel during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I remember my first NaNoWriMo like it was yesterday. Actually, it was two years ago. A friend of mine had told me about ScriptFrenzy. The challenge: to write 100 pages of scripted material during the month of April. Being a writer who needs a hard deadline, and having an idea for a new play, I jumped for joy at finding this wicked cool website. One of the plays that I wrote during the 2009 ScriptFrenzy challenge was produced in NYC later that summer.   

Having accomplished that feat and always saying I was going to put hands to keyboard and write that great novel, I gleefully looked forward to that year’s NaNoWriMo challenge. I remember getting my participant t-shirt in the mail and wearing it on November 1, announcing to the world that in less than 30 days, I was going to have that first rough draft.

I wrote fast and furious on that first day. I wrote so much that I didn’t actually need to write the next two days because I had already reached those daily goals. So I used that time to stew on some thoughts of what my characters would do next. On the fourth day life got in the way and before you knew it, most of the weekend had passed and I hadn’t added to my word count.

Ut-oh.

No worries I said. I will simply try my best during the week and hammer out copious amounts of wordage on the weekends.

‘Twas not a bad plan. I had it all worked out on the calendar. Ah, those well laid plans of mice and (wo)men.

You see, life kept getting in the way and I was writing a weekly column at that time. While NaNoWriMo filled my soul, the column filled my wallet.

Somewhere around the third week mark, I started to panic. Laundry didn’t get done. Dinner consisted of crackers and whatever leftovers didn’t look too fuzzy. At least I made time for brushing my teeth.

Then, by Chris Baty’s brilliant design, Thanksgiving day arrived. Whew! I wrote until my Tofurky induced haze made me nap. The following day, I arose early and wrote feverishly for 19 hours straight. Only stopping to get more caffeine, take a potty break or move from the desk, to the bed, to the couch. At 2:22am on November 28, I wrote the words THE END and then burst into tears.

Tears of unbelievable pride, joy and accomplishment.

I had done it! I wrote 64,420 words. And it felt good.

If I could conquer ScriptFrenzy and NaNoWriMo in the same year, I could do anything!

And so I did it again in 2010 and here I am in 2011.

I learned a few things along the way:

1) You need only write 1,667 words a day to accomplish this goal. However, when you got your groove thang on, write! write! write! Because life will get in the way and there will be at least one (and actually more than that) when you simply won’t be able to pump out that word count.

2) In order to not alienate your loved ones, co-workers, friends, set aside a time every day that is an interruption free zone. For me, it’s one hour. For that one hour, I write and don’t have conversations be it in person, email or text. Then when that hour is done, be done and make time for others. Unless of course, your others are busy doing something then write! write! write!

3) One needs to be able to let the creative juices flow and you can’t do that on fast food or left-overs alone nor can you in the same clothes. So make time to eat, sleep and do laundry. You’re characters will thank you for it.

4) Tell everyone you meet that you are writing a novel in just 30 days. The words of encouragement will help fuel you on.

5) Lastly, have fun! If writing is a chore, then don’t do it. You have to love writing in order to do this marathon. But if you do, the finish line awaits you with cheers, confetti and glory.

Happy Moment of the Day: Due to the snow, we may not get that many trick-or-treaters this year which means those Butterfingers might be all mine. Muhahahaha!

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2 Responses to “In Anticipation of NaNoWriMo 2011”

  1. bonkasaurus October 31, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    How funny! my big sister is an english major and wants to write novels. I am definitely going to share this post with her. hopefully she will take part in it.

    -Bianca at http://theinbetweengirls.wordpress.com/

    • redcurlgurl October 31, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Oh Yes! Please tell her about it. It is a magnificent experience!

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