I Must Be Crazy (NaNoWriMo)

October 31, 2011

Yep, crazy. Batshit insane. My schedule is such these days that I can barely keep up with regular updates on this blog as it is, but I’m still going to attempt National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

Here’s what it’s all about, in a nutshell:

Organizers of the event say that the aim is simply to get people to start writing, using the deadline as an incentive to get the story going and to put words to paper.Β Participants’ novels can be on any theme and in any genre, and in any language. Starting at midnight November 1, novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before 11:59:59 PM on November 30, local time. No official prizes are awarded for length, quality, or speed. Anyone who reaches the 50,000 word mark is declared a winner. The only significant reward for winning is the finished novel itself and the satisfaction of having written it…

Not surprisingly, I first found out about this month-long event a couple years ago from other bloggers. We’re all writers, whether we like it or not, because of the fact we blog. Some of us dream of more; others simply have had a few ideas bouncing around inside their heads for the last few years, and are dying to get them down on paper.

I put myself in the latter category. While I’ve never aspired to write a novel,Β  for the longest time I’ve wanted to put words to my shapeless concepts and make something more of them. Being the procrastinator that I am and also constantly telling myself that there’s always “something more important” to do first, it’s no wonder I’ve never gotten around to it.

I think that’s why the idea of NaNo appeals to me so much. Having a deadline, self-perceived or not, is always the first step in getting me off my ass to get something done. The other thing is the “we’re all in this together” mentality, proving that sometimes peer pressure can be good. More than 200,000 people participated in the event last year, so even more are expected to be doing it this year, and tomorrow I join their ranks.

In addition, I know of several of my friends in the gaming community who are also doing it, even a few who have “won” in past years, so hey, I’ll know who to look to for encouragement! (By the way, NaNo virgin here. So any advice/suggestions/support/consoling/warnings/motivational threats, etc. would be welcome and appreciated, especially if you’ve done this before, regardless of whether or not you’ve conquered the 50K words.)

I’m so psyched for November, and not just because of this. It’s going to be a month full of things to look forward to — new books, games, gadgets, holidays, and fun stuff in general. All of which are going to serve as distractions, I’m afraid, but I told myself earlier this year that I was going to do it so I’m gonna try my darndest anyway. By that, I mean I’m mostly going to wing it.

Wish me luck.


  1. I can’t bring myself to participate. Most of my ideas are short and writing a weekly thing is a lot better for my style than a pile of pages. LOL I’m weird like that!

    • I have a lot of short ideas and even more that are just “scenes” in my head rather than stories, but I think that’s part of the challenge too, to take these little tidbits in my mind and take things further.

      • A lot of successful authors essentially write short scenes and string them together into novels. Just keep the names the same. πŸ˜‰

  2. You are crazy. Good luck anyway. Lol.

    • Thanks! And I knew it wasn’t just in my head πŸ™‚

  3. Good luck! I’m going to participate as well after not doing it for a few years. I’ve already won twice, so I’m a lot more casual about it now… in a way… I already won. I don’t need to prove to myself that I can do it again… riiiight? πŸ˜‰

    My biggest motivation has always been to put on some great “writing music” (I work well with German medieval folk music-type stuff… Schandmaul being my favourite band for that) and type, type, type. Think later. πŸ˜‰

    • Wow grats! I admire anyone who has been able to win. I’m not sure what will happen to my efforts at this point, I know I can achieve it if I put my mind to it, but I also know how quickly I can become discouraged or lose my motivation.

      Thanks for the tip about the music, I think I’m going to try it. Some of my favorite songs I love not for their lyrics or even for their tune itself, but because of how hearing it makes me feel. Depending on the scenes I write, I’d love for a way to focus on those emotions and try to make it come off my writing. I think putting on “writing music” could help!

  4. I want to participate so badly but no time this year. I’m shooting for next year though.

    Going to publish excerpts on the blog? πŸ˜‰

    • Uhhhhh, probably not LOL πŸ˜›

      Like I said, I don’t even have any aspirations to be a published novelist, this is mainly going to be a personal challenge and I’m doing it for myself. Trust me, since NaNo is about quantity over quality anyway, you’d be glad I’m sparing my blog readers my sure to be crappy novel writing πŸ˜›

  5. Good luck!!! I’m going to be doing NaNoWriMo for the first time as well. I’m Ravven on the NaNo site if you’d like another writing buddy. πŸ™‚

    • Good luck to you too! I’m MMOGC on the NaNo site πŸ™‚

  6. I could have sworn you did it last year. I have no real advice other that I hope you have a plan for the plot. If you get stuck on one section, you can move to another section and write that. Seams can be made toward the end and refined during NaNoEdMo (December). XP

    How fast can you type? I figured out that, if you average about 30 wpm, the daily 1667 can be done in less than an hour. I didn’t finish last year because of external factors, but I have a great (I hope) idea for this year. Good luck!

    • But dood! That is assuming you already know what you are going to type 100% of the time. Outlining beforehand could sorta help, with guidance at least.

      But sheesh! If it was like 10k I would take a stab at it, but 50 is far too much of an investment for me at this time. Hats off to anyone that even gets half of the goal complete, and double kudos to anyone even attempting to try.

      Tip o’ the hat to every participant this year, I might join in next, but don’t quote me on that XD

      • I did a very rough outline today, to prep myself. Here’s hoping that it is enough to keep my word count moving along.

        You should join next year, I think that was my mindset last year as well πŸ˜€ I decided I would do it earlier this year, and I think once your mind starts getting used to the idea it gets less daunting. But November hasn’t actually started yet, so we’ll see! XD

    • According to a test I did a few years ago as part of my interview for a job, I type an average of 65 words a minute. I think I do more if I know what I’m writing instead of copying something and having to constantly refer to the original (which is what many typing speed tests ask you to do). I think if I knew where to go with my story at any given moment, I can polish off a lot of words in one day, but of course the situation is never that ideal πŸ˜› I’ll probably be stuck a lot, having no idea where to take the story next, or I’ll be fighting not to give into the urge to edit or rewrite. I predict mostly I’ll be a victim of over-thinking things.

      And no, I didn’t do it last year. I definitely wanted to, but by the time I figured that out, it was already too late.

      Thanks for the good advice, I foresee I’ll be doing a lot of jumping around. It’s actually very similar to the way I draft my blogs right now in any case, so I should feel right at home with doing that.

      • Ja, 30 wpm isn’t that fast. I’d say I’m faster typing off the top of my head, once I get going. Though you’re right, that’s assuming an hour’s worth of solid writing, with no breaks–or blocks.

  7. I’ve been writing so much for work lately that my blogging has taken a bit of a hit. I can’t even imagine taking something like that on now. Still, I admire your ambition!

    • You’ve seen my blog activity, my writing as also taken a big hit this summer and fall. Like I said, I’m probably crazy, but I’ve psyched myself for this for so long, I couldn’t possibly make myself back away without feeling guilty now πŸ˜›

  8. Am take a risk and diving into the nano – will add you as a buddy πŸ˜‰

  9. Good luck GC! One bit of advice for you, if you get stuck or need some encouragement post about it here. I did that randomly last year just to vent and ended up with some really good suggestions.

    • I just might! It’ll have to involve explaining my overly convoluted plotline though, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

  10. Huh, I never knew something like this existed. It seems like an awesome way to get people to try writing. Kudos to the creators for coming up with this event.

    Good luck with your writing project, MMOGC. Here’s hoping you come up with an idea that you enjoy throwing yourself into, and that the words come flowing, effortlessly.

    • Now ya know! I didn’t find out until about a few years ago, from the other wonderful game bloggers. Always seemed like fun, and I’m happy to be doing it this year.

      And thank you for your encouragement!

  11. Good luck with the writing, GC!

  12. I did NaNo one year and it was a fantastic experience! I’d love to do it again if I get a good idea.

    What helped me finish: Have your characters and a plot outline ready — this isn’t against the rules! I used 3X5 cards with the plot points on them to help me with pacing (my biggest problem).

    Also, try to establish a routine, a time and a place where you do your writing every day. It’s a lot easier to get into the mindset if it’s habit. Oh and don’t skip a day and try to catch up later… it almost never happens XD

    • Nice! I am hoping I will finish, but even if I don’t, the experience has already been a blast.

      And yes, I’m finding that an outline really helps. I went in with a very, very rough one, but after seeing how beneficial it is, I’ve been trying to do some chapter outlines too just as a guide to keep the story going and the words coming.

      Love the tip about making writing every day a habit, it’s been working πŸ™‚

  13. I have done it before and won. What helped me was carrying a notebook around (so that I could write in any unexpected spare moments) and going to the local meetups (for motivation and suggestions). I also made good use of “Write or Die”.

    I don’t have the time to commit to it this year, but I’m glad I did it. I like seeing my book on the shelf.

    I hope it goes well for you!

    • I haven’t gone to any local meet ups yet, I don’t even think there are any that close by in my area, based on the discussions and events in my area forum. Hopefully next year as the event gets bigger.

      I now carry around a notebook as well πŸ™‚ When I got it, my husband said it was “cute” because I’m usually a gadget person and he thought me going back to paper and pen was funny :S Hey, sometimes lowtech is more convenient πŸ˜›

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