Nanowrimo Is Awesome

It’s November 30, which means all across the planet everywhere, butchers, bakers, candle-stick makers, and regular people like you and me are crossing the finish line and becoming novelists.  If you are one of them, MAJOR kudos, for realz.  In honor of my not writing a novel this year, I dedicate this short opposite-of-a-rant about me and NaNoWriMo.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo on Nov.1, 2009 when a friend facebooked a link to  I instantly loved everything about it.  The idea that you could write a 175 page novel in a month.  The fact that anyone could do it.  The realization that there is no mojo involved – all it would take was about 2 hours of typing a day.  My noveling Everest was just there, and I had to take it down.  I started my novel the next day, and by Nov. 30 had proudly crossed the 50,000 word mark.

Big Winner with 50251 words!

The vast majority of what I wrote was total pants, as you would expect.  I was writing without a plan, a plot, or even well-defined characters.  But every day or two, or every 4000 words or so, I’d manage to actually write an interesting plot twist, a clever insult, an insightful metaphor.  My characters would start talking to each other without my intervention and fill themselves out.  The ridiculous deadline imposed by this totally-optional-but-once-you-start-you-don’t-want-to-fail activity had forced my brain into producing nuggets of almost-art simply by denying the self-conscious/editing/rational/fearful other part of my brain any time to do its thing.

By the end of the month, I realized that if you did this every day for long enough, eventually you could generate enough good material to piece together an actual (aka publishable) novel.  Just cut out the bad stuff, elaborate on the good, edit, edit, edit.  As it turns out, even a mammoth task like novel writing is really just a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other discipline like anything else.  I did some poking around on writers’ blogs and found out that in fact, writers just sit down and write. Every. Single. Day.

Nanowrimo 2010 winner

Won again in 2010! My novel was written entirely in the last 10 days, which encompassed a visit by my family, a trip to Vancouver, and three painfully long days of wedding dress shopping. Oddly enough, my second novel was better than my first. Better premise, better characters, better plot, better epic-ness. I credit late nights, early mornings, a doubled wpm, and the discovery of the best sandwich cafe ever: The Essential Bakery in Seattle.

In summary:
Less Thinking, More Typing.  Whatever it is, Just Do It y’all.


2 Thoughts on “Nanowrimo Is Awesome

  1. Ok, this is going on my list right next to full marathon. I’m not sure which year, but I’m inspired to just do it.

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