NaNo NaNo

It’s NaNo time again!

As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. It’s how I wrote TNWSY. It’s how so many other amazing authors completed their novels. (The Night Circus, for example. Yes. That one.)

So for any writers interested in jumping aboard, here are my pieces of advice:

1) Don’t think, just do it. A lot of people don’t attempt because they don’t think they’ll be able to finish. So? Sure, 50,000 words IS the end goal, but if you don’t finish, it’s not the end of the world. At least you started. At least you tried. And that might just be the push you need.

2) To Plot or not to plot. I’ve seen a lot of Twitter posts from people prepping for NaNo. They’ve gotten their entire books plotted out, and they’re ready to go. And still, I see others who have no idea where their books will take them, and just want to try. I say do whatever you want. Don’t be intimidated by those with 20 pages of pre-notes. (I had none – I had a basic idea, and after a few days of writing, I made a rough outline of where I wanted things to go. I mean rough. Like, half-a-page rough.) And don’t think that if you have nothing, you won’t succeed. If plotting makes you feel prepared, awesome, go for it. If not, then just start.

3) Write every day. It’s such an easy thing to think about doing, but in actuality it’s hard. Sometimes you don’t have the motivation. Sometimes you’re busy. But if you can write for just 10 minutes, it’s something. Even if you accomplish only 10 words, even if you get one sentence down, you’re one sentence closer to the end.

4) Don’t look back. The best part of NaNo is that it doesn’t let you self-edit. You don’t have the time. So if your character name changes halfway through, awesome, don’t go back and change it. If you decide to change the setting towards the end, that’s great, don’t switch out the other references. All of that can be changed during editing. Just keep writing. Don’t let yourself look at previous pages. (Unless you have to find a name or something.)

5) Make writing fun. This shouldn’t be a chore (though around 30,000 words I think every writer finds it frustrating). It should be fun! Write where you’re comfortable. Go to a coffee shop or bookstore. Or find a comfortable place at home. I wrote my entire first draft of TNWSY on Google Docs (now Drive) because I wanted to work on it all times, and didn’t always have my laptop. Since it was cloud based, it was always with me. And that was awesome.

6) Keep notes. Have a notebook. Jot down notes as you go. Write ideas for a future scene you dream up. You may not end up using them, but they’re neat to look back to once you’re done.

7) Celebrate. No, really. You survived! Go forth and celebrate! That’s such an amazing accomplishment. Seriously, be proud of yourself, even if you don’t finish.

I’d join you all this year, but I’m heavy in revisions. I wish you all luck. Let me know how you do!

A few updates

My birthday was yesterday, so I’m officially 29. It’s weird because it’s not weird. I mean, I thought I’d feel older or wiser or different, knowing that 30 is so close, but really? I don’t feel different at all. I’m okay with 29. I like 29. What I do feel, though, is sick and that’s kind of annoying.

My cold, however, did not stop me from dressing as Katniss for work:

I’m a librarian. OF COURSE i’m going to be a YA character for Halloween. I felt super awesome all day.

I’m pretty sure the best part of the day was when a little girl looked at me, then grabbed her dad’s sleeve and loudly whispered “DAD, THAT’S KATNISS!” I almost cried.

Also, I decided last minute to actually do NaNoWriMo. Last year I was in it on my own – this year a few friends were convinced to try. I’ve had an idea floating around my head for quite some time, so I figured – hey, why not. So, I’m starting. I’m not as psyched as I was last time (and I think that’s mainly because I had never finished a novel before at that point), but I am committed to my story. I like my story. And I know that even if I don’t “win” NaNo, I’ll still complete it. And I feel good about that. (Friend me, won’t you?) Also, I apparently really like short sentences this morning.

So, I’m starting 29 with a new story, and the excitement of that outweighs the annoying cold. Because colds come and go, but stories stick with you forever.

(Please blame my cold for the ridiculously cheesy last line.) 

NaNoWriMo

November brings lots of things – cooler weather, Thanksgiving, pumpkin everything, my birthday…

It’s also National Novel Writing Month.

The event has a special place in my heart. It’s during NaNoWriMo that I finished the first draft of TNWSY. It’s because I was deliriously committed to finishing those 50,000 words in time that I pushed myself further than I’ve ever gone and completed a book.

And since then I’ve completed two more manuscripts. I go into each story knowing I’ll finish them now, not wondering if the last page will ever be dreamed about. I thank my competitiveness. My intense drive. My need to write. But mostly, I thank NaNo.

So with October 10 days gone, I’m approaching November with wonder and excitement. Will I compete again? I’m not sure. I’m in the middle of editing, and that’s more important to me at the moment.

But should any other writer do it? Absolutely. Because it forces you to write and not look back. It forces you to put your fingers to the keyboard and type without correcting spelling and grammatical errors. It lets you add parts that say “make this scene more interesting,” and continuing on to the next scene. Really, it forces you to write and believe in yourself. Because once you finish that first manuscript, truly, it feels like anything is possible.

And isn’t that the whole point of writing?

Who’s done NaNoWriMo before? Who’s doing it this year?