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Tag: ways of writing

Perfectly set up for Na-No-Wri-Mo

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve got not one, but two projects ideally set up for a Na-No-Wri-Mo style writing blitz

On the eve of the event itself, no less! If ever there were a year when I was perfectly set to participate, this is it.

What is “Na-No-Wri-Mo“? you may ask. That is short for “National Novel-Writing Month.” It’s an annual event, held November 1-30 of each year. Participants attempt to write 50,000 words or more in a month (50,000 words is the minimum length for a novel, according to some definitions and in some genres).

Many participants look upon it as a competition (for well or ill) and for many it provides motivation. I think whatever helps a writer make progress on his or her work of passion is a positive thing.

It’s true that a rare few people actually can write a real novel in a month. For most of us, 50,000 even-semi-coherent words in a month is a stretch, and that’s the point. Na-No-Wri-Mo is designed to push writers beyond their comfort zones and help them achieve more than they thought they could. It’s a creative challenge that is a high bar, but not unreachable.

That’s extremely beneficial for a writer, whether you end up with a novel at the end of the month, or (more likely) with a steaming pile of first draft.

I know I’ve posted this quote from Shannon Hale before, but I thought it was appropriate here.

I have never personally participated in Na-No-Wri-Mo, although I’ve been “Na-No adjacent” for years because I hang out with other writers. Why don’t I participate? 

Mostly it’s because I’m a competition-averse person, and I write slowly. I’m persistent, but not fast. Also, I know myself. Trying to write 50,000 words straight through with no stopping or second thoughts . . . not gonna happen. It would make me nuts.

Also, it’s in November. That might be a time of miserable weather in San Francisco (the original reason for timing it then), but November is the month before Christmas, contains no fewer than three family birthdays for my clan, and it has Thanksgiving in it. NO WAY am I going through November with the minimum of distractions needed to produce 50,000 words!

In November, San Francisco looks like this a lot. No wonder the Na-No-Wri-Mo founders wanted to stay inside!

So, no. I’ll flirt with the idea, but I won’t sign up for Na-No-Wri-Mo this year, either. But I’ll think of the participants often, as I regularly take chunks of time to work on my projects throughout the month, and I’ll be wishing them well!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wikipedia for the Na-No-Wri-Mo logo file, to Ali Stegert’s “Spilling Ink” blog, for the quote from Shannon Hale, and to Free Tours by Foot, for the photo of San Francisco in November.

The writing process

Everyone who wants to write will eventually develop his or her individual way of writing, but if you’ve embarked on that effort it’s guaranteed you’ll also discover lots of ways that don’t work for you! It’s all part of the creative process. Keep trying. And consider these thoughts:

I’ve dedicated the majority of my posts this month to writers and writing. November is Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month), when writers all over the world are moving heaven and earth (or not) to carve out time to write a cumulative total of 50,000 words.

My life is currently in enough upheaval that I knew I couldn’t compete at that level, but I’d like to provide a small cheering section for those who can. Best wishes to all of you!

IMAGES: I’m grateful to Now Novel (and to Barbara Kingsolver) for the quote and image about writing for oneself. Also to Authors Publish and Freedom With Writing for the image and quote from Neil Gaiman. Many, many thanks to the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi, for her “Will Write For Chocolate” cartoons, including this one. And finally, I appreciate the image and quote from Beth Revis, as presented by Freedom With Writing. You’re all inspiring! Thanks!

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