Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What NaNoWriMo Is and Isn't

Everyone by now knows about NaNoWriMo, and, while having a working knowledge of what it is, you still might not know what it is. Miranda, for example, doesn't know*.

NaNoWriMo Is...
...a great way to get yourself into the habit of writing daily. Even if you only manage 10 minutes each day, the important thing is the habit.
...helpful in completing that shitty first draft. It's a right of passage. Trust me, I'm a non-professional.
...useful in figuring out your backstory. A lot of times you need to know where you came from before you know where you're going. What better way to make that word count than writing backstory?
...a tool that can shut off your internal editor. Only if you choose. I know plenty of people who keep their editor on at all times. If I did, I'd be somewhere around 1,000 words.
makes you accountable and also motivates! In order to win, you need to complete at least 50 thousand words. You have to verify them. If you have other friends on your NaNoWriMo account, you can see how many words they've written versus you. Who doesn't like competition**?

NaNoWriMo Isn't...
...an excuse to get out of Thanksgiving dinner. No matter how tempting that is.
...designed for you to finish your novel on November 30th, only to query on December 1st. Novels take time. All your premature querying does is A) make you look like an asshole, B) piss off the people you want to represent you, and C) make the rest of us want to track you down and put the hurt on you***.
for you to torture your critique group with your hot-off-the-presses-yet-still-written-entirely-in-passive-hey-it's-a-choice-voice.
...built for you to eat chocolate for every single meal. Even though there is that Reese's cereal to consider, remember, vegetables are your friend. As is Coke.
...an excuse to not socialize. With regional chapters of NaNoWriMo internationally, you can hook up with other WriMos and get your word count on together.

Are you (un)officially participating in NaNoWriMo? What else is NaNoWriMo good for?

* But I bet she could write a completely original zombie book, so I'll forgive her.
** Me, actually.
*** Personally, I would never beat you, but I can give you a good verbal thrashing.

Last.fm hit of the day: Back in Black by 69 Eyes


  1. I have been a very bad WriMo this year, but I will get better.

    As much as I tweak you about it, I am so glad I let you friend guilt me into doing it last year. Broom Closet is the most cohesive and marketable thing I think I've ever written, and for me to get first and beta drafts done within six months? Freakin' awesome, especially considering I've been trying to write this damn series for 10 years.

    I've told people that the write-ins are quite possibly the most therapeutic writing sitch on the planet (provide you bring good headphones and music).

  2. I totally agree with querying on dec 1. Awesome post. really one of your best ones.

  3. haha I don't know if I'd be able to write a fictional novel. I'm mostly of the nonfiction variety! But perhaps some day I will try :D

  4. I'm not doing NaNo myself this year, but I'm happily cheering on everybody who is!

    Great post! I agree, the key to surviving NaNo (I did try it last year and the year before) is to remember that you have a life outside of it. I forgot that, and I totally crashed and burned.

  5. Great post! Though, I must say, I've been craving WAY more chocolate since I've started NaNo. Now the guilt has set in. :(

  6. I'm a NoNaNo this year. Doing some unofficial stuff, but what it's good for? The energy! The buzz you get from everyone around you who's driving to finish NaNoWriMo. That's been the most beneficial for me. I get the writing time with peeps online motivating me without the pressure of cranking out 50K in a month.

    Oh, and the excuse to have an ice cream parties are fun too.


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