As of this time last week, I was not going to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for you writing newbies).
Last year I got halfway through the 50,000 word goal, realized I was not, in fact, a pantser, and didn’t “win,” AKA write at least 50,000 words during the month of November. Needless to say, my one NaNo experience was not a pleasant one, and I had no intentions of repeating it.
Let me just point out that 50,000 words in 30 days means you’re writing at least 1,667 words per day, but really more because you need to build up a buffer for when Thanksgiving and sickness and your husband’s birthday inevitably suck away hours of writing time.
So I wasn’t going to do it, and I was feeling 100% (okay, 99.7%) okay with that. I’d already written 50,000 words of my novel at my pace, and things were progressing just as I wanted them to thank-you-very-much.
Then Molly, one of my coworkers, and I were walking back from lunch last Tuesday, and she asked if I was planning to NaNo this year. Unlike me, Molly has had a great experience with the whole thing; in fact, she’s “won” NaNo twice and is all psyched up to do it again this year. And if there’s one thing you should know about Molly, it’s that her enthusiasm is contagious. It took all of five minutes for me to decide, you know what, I want to be able to finish out the month of November knowing that I wrote 50,000 words no matter the blood, sweat, and tears involved.
Winning NaNo would also effectively finish out the first draft of the novel that I’ve been working on since August, so it’s a win-win situation for me.
Of course, being a complete non-pantser had me immediately scrambling to prepare for the month. It’s a serious ordeal, and while I have a decent outline for the back half of my novel, I wanted to go back through some of my favorite writing blogs and glean as much wisdom as I can before 12:00 a.m.
Here are a few of the resources that helped get me through this crunch time prep:
I love pretty much all of Kristen Kieffer’s posts over at She’s Novel, but this is a great one for NaNo newbies or someone looking for that last little shove toward participating. (Oh, and I definitely bought The PreWrite Project months ago and would highly recommend it!)
One great thing about NaNo is that it beats the misconception right out of you that you can only write when the feeling hits you, the time is right, the wind blows musically through the trees and ignites your inner muse… You get the idea. This is false, and Rachel Giesel has three steps for helping you get through that awkward transition period if this is what you’ve always thought about writing.
While I’m not one for following any kind of template outline to a T, I did go back through the 2015 NaNo outline at Better Novel Project to see if there were any elements that I wanted to incorporate from the books that Christine uses for her posts. I then stumbled upon her 2016 NaNo outline, which is all about characters and themes from Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games.
If you’re planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, hit me up. I’m under the oh-so-interesting username tylerhhyde.
Happy NaNo-ing, friends!