Monday, October 27, 2008


While reading Journey Juju a couple of weeks ago I learned that there is also such a thing called NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month, which takes place throughout November! I totally signed up. I'd like to think that blogging everyday this month has been kind of like a warm up for NaNoWriMo. At least I hope. I have been meaning to write a novel ever since L did last summer. And M even got me a Hello Kitty notepad for my birthday in which she suggested I use it to write down my book ideas. At one point I was writing down an idea a day. I have since stopped the brainstorming, but I'd like to think I have a few interesting plots to choose from. On one hand, I'm totally excited about this. But on the other hand, I'm thinking, "Holy crap, what'd I get myself into??" "Can I really write 50,000 words in a month?" I still need to allifilate myself with a region, but I've signed up. So there's no going back now!

Here's the welcome e-mail they sent me. I totally agree with all of it! It was as if they read my mind!

Before you head off to begin training those typing fingers, we wanted to offer a few bits of advice. You'll find many great tips in the forums, and we'll be sending pep talks directly to your inbox during November. But for now, here's a quick overview of the three-and-a-half things we wish we had known for our first NaNoWriMo.

1) It's okay to not know what you're doing. Really. You've read a lot of novels, so you're completely up to the challenge of writing one. If you feel more comfortable outlining your story ahead of time, do so. But it's also fine to just wing it. Write every day, and a book-worthy story will appear, even if you're not sure what that story might be right now.

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it's hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn't. Every book you've ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you're writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who've had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

3.5) There will be times you'll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to yodel.

And we're talking the good kind of yodeling here.

With great well wishes on the noveling month ahead,

The NaNoWriMo Team

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