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NaNoWriMo Workshop – Your Turn

October 24, 2008

This is the last day you’ll hear me talk about NaNoWriMo

At least, until November 1st. 😀

NaNoWriMo has got to be one of my all-time favorite writing activities. It’s not just about the writing itself (though that’s very satisfying), but the fact that we all come together and share experiences, advice, motivation and support to get through the challenge. I love NaNoWriMo because I FEEL like a writer.

And I have an excuse to put off chores because I have “to write.” 😉

I think writers either get NaNoWriMo, or they don’t. For some, it’s a waste of time. Why write 50,000 words, and go through all of that stress and trouble just to write trash?

And others appreciate and embrace the challenge of actually being productive – we’re no longer TALKING about writing, we’re DOING it.

I know, for me, NaNoWriMo has been my writing springboard. I’ve gone to college and taken quite a few writing classes. Which were great, and I HIGHLY recommend anyone halfway serious about writing in general to do so, BUT, it can actually be counterproductive because there are so many rules and guidelines you must remember that it can sometimes be overpowering, and even intimidating – so much so, that it can squash your creativity.

I think that’s what happened to me. I had been conditioned into thinking if I didn’t write well, then there was really no reason to write at all. That everything I wrote, needed to be worthy of public consumption.


If you don’t write, you won’t get better. If you don’t get better, then how can you write anything worth reading?

I began the NaNoWriMo challenge in 2005. My novel was called “No Sleep, No Talk” and yes, it was as bad as the title implies. In fact, it stank – royally. I really didn’t have a concrete plot idea, I just sort of allowed my characters to lead me around. It was like feeling my way in a pitch black room; I had no idea where I was going, or where I had been. But man, I had fun writing it.

I have never once thought it was a waste of time. The experience, the LICENSE to let go and simply write whatever I wanted to was thoroughly liberating. I needed permission to let go of my preconceived ideas about writing and simply write. After crossing that 50,000 word line, I felt free, truly free, to be open and honest with my writing, for the first time in my life. I’ll never forget the experience.

In 2006, I wrote “Reality Check.” In fact, I plan on posting excerpts from that WIP on my regular blog every Thursday next month. I took a news article and built an entire story around it. After crossing that 50,000 word finish line, I realized that the premise, though interesting, was a bit far-fetched. Though I still think the idea is cool, I think it might work better for a short story as opposed to a novel-length work.

Last year, I wrote a mystery/suspense story entitled “Broken Silence.” In essence, it was centered around a group of people who lived on a cul-de-sac and who found themselves stranded after a nasty ice storm raged through. The story was basically trying to survive the elements, each other and some unknown force that was causing people to just … disappear. I still think the idea is marketable. In fact, I will likely go back to my project and rewrite it because that’s how confident I am about this idea. I based this idea on my own real-life experience. In 2006, we had an ice storm dump five inches of ice on us. Our city shut down. Seventy-five percent of the city lost power and we went into survival mode. My family was without electricity for almost 12 days. It was a test of my character, and the characters of those around me.

This year, I plan on writing a romance story. I’ve denied myself the genre I really love the most for long enough. It has nothing to do with the sexy parts, though there is that, but I’ve always been fascinated with relationships in general – just WHY do men and women connect, anyway?

My story will be based around a NASCAR driver. This driver will have two possible love interests to juggle, an old family stigma to overcome, and other jealous, spiteful rivals to dodge. It will be fun, dangerous, exciting and sexy all at once.

At least, I hope so.

I plan on starting my story off with a prologue because I’m a big proponent of killer beginnings – as referenced in yesterday’s “Constructing Scenes” post – and then beginning my story with an accident, a life-changing accident.

I’m REALLY looking forward to sinking my teeth into this project.

I will outline the prologue and possibly the first two chapters. After that, I will likely follow my characters around, that’s just the way I work.

I plan on writing between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., because I have found, through trial and error, that those seem to be my most creatively productive hours.

I will likely write on my new (early birthday present) Dell Mini 9, Linux version. (It’s all your fault, Janie. I completely blame you for introducing me to this cute little baby *grin*). And I will likely leave my house to write because I have learned, through trial and error, I get way too distracted when I stay home.

My goal is to write 2,000 words per day. I’d like to write more as my overall goal this year is to reach 100,000 words – or finish the story, whichever comes first. 🙂 It’s a lofty goal, perhaps even unrealistic considering I have a slew of family birthdays, Thanksgiving and of course work to squeeze in there somewhere, but I will try my best.

And now, I’m tired. I’ve talked enough. I’m ready to sit back and listen to what ya’ll have to say about YOUR projects. So, here are some questions for you, please answer them in the comment section (Or, tomorrow is Say it On Saturday – feel free to talk more about your project then).

1. Do you have an idea for your NaNoWriMo project?

2. What instrument will you be writing your novel on?

3. Where will you likely be writing most of your story?

4. When will you likely write your story?

5. What is your daily word count goal?

6. Have you participated in past NaNoWriMo’s? How many years have you won?

7. What do you think about NaNoWriMo in general? A waste of time? Or beneficial?

Thank you again for sticking around this week. I sincerely hope these past posts have helped you prepare for this challenge, or for your writing in general.

Get organized and get ready to write your fingers off!


  1. October 25, 2008 2:57 am

    1. Do you have an idea for your NaNoWriMo project?

    Yep, on my way back from a small town where my girlfriend grew up, I got a spark of an idea to change my idea from NaNo ’04.

    It’s a mix of genres but mainly horror, and the outlining is looking very very good.

    2. What instrument will you be writing your novel on?

    I’ll be mostly writing on my own Toshiba laptop, or my work computer.

    3. Where will you likely be writing most of your story?

    Hopefully I’ll get a large part of it written at work, as that’s where most of my time is spent, if not, there’s home time and write ins on the weekend.

    4. When will you likely write your story?

    During work hours, hopefully, but probably a lot of it will be done at night or on the weekends.

    5. What is your daily word count goal?

    I’m going for 500 a day as a bare minimum, or hopefully more.

    6. Have you participated in past NaNoWriMo’s? How many years have you won?

    I’ve done it every year since 2004, but never won. I once hit 30k in 2005, but since then work has always gotten in the way. This year I’m working in a different city to my boss so that should help.

    7. What do you think about NaNoWriMo in general? A waste of time? Or beneficial?

    The community and buzz is invaluable in my opinion. No matter how unmotivated I’ve been, it manages to build up as I come closer to November every year.

  2. Nemo permalink
    November 21, 2008 11:17 pm

    You can ALWAYS write what you feel like writing.

    When I have a story to tell, I write. When I don’t have a story to tell, I don’t write. Simple.

    A month-long freewrite is an utter waste of time. Also simple.

    Grow up. This doesn’t make you a better writer any more than bellowing in the shower for a month would make me a better opera singer. In fact, why don’t we try that one instead? December could be NaOpSiMo. Invest in earplugs now.

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