A week from today is November 1st, and the start of National Novel Writing Month. I participated in NaNoWriMo two years ago, and am wondering if I should subject myself to this painful experience again this year. Maybe others are contemplating similar questions.
Two years ago, I had no clue if I could write anything longer than 5000 words. NaNoWriMo was a personal challenge. And I met my goals and got two things out of my 2009 gambit: a) I learned that under deadline, I could write a lot, even while staying on top of parenting and work responsibilities. b) I also realized the value of turning off my inner critic during the first draft.
Before that NaNoWriMo experience, writing 1000 words in a single day was a like pulling my own teeth. But because the daily average needed to reach 50,000 words was nearly 1,700, and because I only wrote half the days, I kicked out three, four, five thousand words on many of my active writing days. My record was 8000 words on one Saturday. And cooking meals, folding laundry, and clocking 40+ hours per week at work were no longer valid reasons to not write.
I’m not sure how many NaNoWriMo participants do this, but I had about a dozen subscribers who expected at least weekly updates from me. This focused my writing towards an audience, but I somehow managed to turn off my inner critic anyway. My harsh super-editor seems to be worse when I’m the only reader anticipating my work.
Fast forward to 2011. My have the self-knowledge I gained from my first NaNo experience. I’m on the verge of writing a new novel. I still have a lot of ideation and maybe even outlining that I’d like to do. But I’d also like to get this story out of my system. I’m thinking of attempting NaNoWriMo again, but I wanted to hear about the wisdom you gained.
So, here are a few questions for you NaNo vets:
- Are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year?
- How many NaNovels have you completed?
- What have you learned from NaNoWriMo in the past?
- If you plan on doing it this year, what specific goals to you hope to accomplish? (I’m assuming that writing 50,000 words is a stepping stone to something more)
- What advice do you have to help other writers like me to have a successful NaNoWriMo experience?
- If you’re a NaNo veteran but have chosen not to do it again, what keeps you from returning?
Thanks, in advance, for your wisdom!
(My profile page is here–feel free to share links to your profiles below.)