Thursday, October 28, 2010

NANOWRIMO

I've thought about NaNoWriMo for a few years.  Several people I've known online for many years participate each year.  What is NanoWriMo?  It's National Novel Writing Month.  From the official web site:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.
Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.
Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.
When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

This means writing close to 1,700 words each and every day for a full month.  I looked at the stats of participants and "winners" and less than 20% of the people who participate actually reach the 50,000 word mark and therefore win each year though I did notice the trend of a slight increase in winners each year.
NaNoWriMo has been around since 1999.  I first heard of it a few years ago and have thought each year "I think I'll try that...next year."  Well why not make it THIS year?  I doubt I'll actually reach the 50,000 mark but why not give it a try?  Everyone knows I ramble so maybe I can put out that many words...given that my computer survives it.
I have several obstacles in this endeavorer:

  • My computer does NOT like being on for very long at a time and has lots of issues.  
  • I have no real word processing programs installed on this computer because the computer is crap and won't let me...but I've discovered Google Docs which works fairly well so far.
  • This is happening in the winter months which means cold hands and cold hands are stiff and painful which makes a lot of typing difficult.
  • Short attention span.
  • November is when Xmas shopping season starts..the busy season of the year in life in general
  • I have no plot for a book and I'm not very creative.
  • I've never written a fiction story.
  • I've never written anything of length.
  • I have lost almost all music since my ipod has died, and my computer does not let me have itunes etc on it.  My tv has sound problems so the radio through it is iffy.
  • Pain makes it difficult to sit in any one place for very long and is quite distracting.
  • I have a few friends online who are planning to participate but I doubt anyone I see in person will be very supportive.

I've always wanted to write stories.  I've always wanted to write about the silly crazy life I've lived and the way my friends are.  A "fictionalized memoir" is an acceptable according to the FAQ

Any genre of novel is okay for NaNoWriMo. Yes, really, any genre. Fan fiction is okay. Steamy adult content is okay (as long as you are careful about where you post it!). Memoir is a sticky one; as long as it is fictionalized, it is okay, too. We just want you to be excited about writing. If what you're writing doesn't qualify as a lengthy work of fiction, we've set up a group for NaNo Rebels in the forums. 

The strict deadline and the fact that lots of people are writing during this time with the same goal might actually give me enough motivation to put into words so much of what is in my head.  Other people being very clear on my goal and being able to see my progress by looking at my progress bar might really help motivate me.  

So in just a couple of days, at midnight at the end of Halloween I will start this writing and see how it goes.  Even if I don't reach the goal it'll give me a good idea of how much I can write and if I'd ever want to try to write such a long piece of fiction and if I'd ever want to try doing WriMo again.  It will give me a tangible goal.  


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