November 7, 2009


So yes, I'm one of the thousands who decided to make November a month to remember. I'm currently participating in NaNo. This is my second year taking the plunge and already I'm shocked at exactly how different it has been.

First off, the goal of NaNo is to write 50K in exactly one month. It averages out to 1,667 a day. Easy enough right? Well for the most part, getting word count down isn't hard, if you push yourself. I can get 1,667 in less than an hour without trying to hard. The difficult part lies in motivation and keeping up with it. Sure, 1,667 a day isn't too hard, but imagine how quickly those words building up over a few days of skipping. Suddenly you find yourself staring at an immeasurable word count that has you barely able to breathe.

So the trick to NaNo is staying on top of things.

I've noticed something about NaNo though. So far, I've written roughly 13,000 words. And the first 9,000 were utter and total crap. No, I'm not just saying that, they were. It look me a long time to get into Murmur and find the voices of the characters. Even still, I haven't full developed my male lead. But that, however, is the fun of NaNo.

Don't believe me? Here's a passage. And guess what, it's already been rewritten.

The headmistress’s square heels clunked and thumped against the heavy word floors, each step adding a beat to her welcoming speech. Elizabeth was trailing behind, carrying her suitcase in one hand and a bag in another. She had another bag strapped across her body. Behind them, the groundskeeper was wheeling a cart containing the remaining few boxes of Elizabeth’s possessions.

Oy. That made me blush just looking at it. However, that's the point of a rough draft. It's a raw idea that needs a lot, a lot of tweaking.

The great thing about NaNo though, is that one has to force themselves to push past the muck and the junk and the crap and just keep writing. So often we see a paragraph go sour or a character go in a direction that we never would have imagined and we get discouraged. We shouldn't. We should just keep pushing forward, in the hopes that at the end, we have a great novel.

That's what NaNo has taught me and is still teaching me. I need to get up with my diligence and not get discouraged over a few bad chapters.

It's not too late to sign up, if you're interested. Yes, you'll have to play catch up, but you can easily do it! We're only one week in and there's still plenty of time to take the plunge into utter insanity with the rest of us.


  1. Very true I managed to sign up I believe halfway through the second week of my first nano. Didn't manage to win but had a ball trying to catch up at that point I didn't know how to turn off my inner editor (or who my inner editor was)

    This year however it seems different. I'm not actually reading over what I wrote and using write or die famously and managing to stay a day ahead of myself so I'm happy with thaat :)

  2. I think the first 20 pages of mine are pretty lifeless. I only just now feel like I've come into the interesting part. This is my first year with an outline and I need to learn how to work with one. So far, it seems to have given me a lot of pacing problems where actions are happening between characters who haven't been developed so the actions seem hollow.