Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo: A Primer

Today is October 30th. In two days, the madness that is NaNoWriMo begins.

What's with the crazy capitalization weirdness?

NaNoWriMo = National (Na) Novel (No) Writing (Wri) Month (Mo).

Still have no idea what I'm talking about? Here's the 411:

- in thirty days, you must write 50,000 new words
- that's 1,667 words each day
- people all over the world participate
- not a word can be written before November 1st at 12:01am your time
- to "win" you must finish the 50,000th+ word and submit your story for verification by November 30th at 11:59pm your time

There are a thousand nuances to do with NaNoWriMo, and the website explains it all better than I ever will, so feel free to browse there.

Why bother?


Many of your writer friends will be posting on their blogs and Twitter and Facebook. You will find word count meters, rants about writers' block, and the occasional meltdown where they questions their career choice. The energy level surrounding NaNoWriMo cannot be matched if you're the type of writer who works better with a deadline.

Cool Tracking Tools

NaNoWriMo has plenty of shiny counters, graphs, and such to keep you motivated. I'm a numbers girl, so I am soooo motivated by all of the pretty charts and counters. Your NaNoWriMo buddies will be posting their charts too, so you'll have plenty of motivation, jealousy, superiority, and all of those other helpful emotions.

Theme Songs

People post songs, skits, etc on YouTube to chronicle their own NaNoWriMo journeys. My personal favourite is by iTalkToSnakes/Oh, hey Kristina!. She has two versions:

The original

The updated version


Most major cities (or geographical areas) have regional groups. I belong to two, one for Toronto and one for the Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge area because I spend time writing in both places.

These regional groups have meetings, parties, write-in's, did I mention parties? At these get-togethers, all of us crazy writers race each other, challenge each other, complain, party, or whatever. The leaders of these regional groups, called ML's (Municipal Liaisons) will bring swag to the meetings.

Yep, swag. Stickers are my personal favourites because I like to decorate my laptop with them.

The Novel at the End

I almost forgot! By the end of the NaNoWriMo craziness, you will have written a novel. Or part of a novel, at least.

Having personally "won" NaNoWriMo several times (that means I hit 50,000 words before the end of November), I can attest to feelings of:




Then, you look at the pile of dishes, the dirty laundry, and all of the other things you neglected during November and the feeling goes away. So make sure you have the celebratory cake before you look too carefully at your surroundings.

Have I convinced you to join in the frenzy? Are you itching to get at the keyboard?

I sure hope so. Because the more, the merrier.

If you would like to be one of my writing buddies, search for canadiansuzanne on the NaNoWriMo site.

Good luck to all of you who plan to give it a whirl. Oh, and if my weekly blog posts are a little late this month, just remember, I'm very busy. Yes, this is my apology...see the Do It Now section. :)

Do It Now:
Jot down a few ideas for plot and character so that you can delve in to the first few pages on Thursday morning.

Apologize to all of your family and friends now. Trust me, you do need to do this before the beginning of November.

Go to the NaNoWriMo site and set up your account now, so you won't be wasting time come Thursday.

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