NaNoWriMo and Me

I got the reminder that the official NaNoWriMo prep period starts in September. I’m not much of a preparation type, but I’ve definitely started thinking about what this year’s novel is going to be about, and about all the novels I’ve worked on in the past.

NaNoWriMo–for the handful of non-writers here–is National Novel Writing Month, and writers from all over the world get together online and try to write a novel (50,000 words) during the month of November. And there have been some commercial success stories and a whole lot of personal success stories. (NaNoWriMo was the first time I finished a novel!)

After that, I got weighted down with editing, and the near-impossible task of making my first-ever novel, which I wrote in 30 days presentable. And there were a few Nanos where I started novels, just to be distracted by the ever-present editing job.

How long do you have to let a novel cool before you edit it? I’ve heard six months, or a year, or at least a month, but I think the real answer is this: Let it cool until you’ve written the first draft of your next novel. That’s the only thing that’s going to fully occupy your mind, and let you approach editing with a fresh eye.

Well, anyway, eventually, I did wind up writing more novels.

I don’t really remember how, but for a while, I fell off the NaNoWriMo band wagon, and wrote entirely on my own schedule. The next novel wasn’t a NanoNovel. I know that.

Somewhere in there, I got help revising my novel.  And somehow, I managed to turn that very first finished disaster into something people were capable of reading.

And then, through peer pressure and nostalgia, I wound up back at Nano. I think I’ve gotten my 50k in three or four times, over all.

But that’s not my goal, anymore.

My goal is to revitalize my goals. Make new friends. Make good habits.

Year around, my writing goal is about 1000 words a day. And that’s less than you need to win Nano. It adds up, though, to 365,000 words a year. (Not including forum posts, or blog posts, if I want to be a purist.) About 7 Nano-novels worth of text. Easily 4 or 5 proper, full-length novels.

The habit is easier to get into when there are other people around you to support you, and that’s what Nano really does well. A month is a good length of time to get into a habit. (I got into the blogging every day thing with the A-to-Z Challenge, this year).

I’ve been slipping on my 1000 words of fiction a day, and I want to build the habit back up before I hit the new year. (I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do start my count over on Jan. 1.)

If you’re looking to start some year-round habits, or even just to write that first novel, Nano’s a great way to go. Drop by my profile, and say hello, or just leave me your user name in a comment, and I’ll add you to my buddy list.

I still don’t know what I’ll be writing about, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out by November.


  1. Reply

    I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo. I’ve been fortunate enough to do it every year since I discovered it (in spite of pregnancies, babies, illnesses, and moving). It’s definitely a great way to motivate yourself into a writing every day habit!

    • Reply

      I’m completely in awe! If I tried doing nano with kids–even loaner kids–they’d be running around in burlap sacks by the end of it. I could never do what you do.

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