This year, for the first time in a few years, I’m participating in Nanowrimo. For those of you who might not know, Nanowrimo stands for “National Novel Writing Month” and is (somewhat counterintuitively) an international, online community dedicated to writing novella-length pieces of prose in November. The goal: write 50,000 words.
I’ve participated 5 times so far, and reached my goal of 50,000 words each time. But I fell off the bandwagon sometime during graduate school (year 3? year 3 of grad school sounds about right) so I’m rusty to say the least.
In general, what I learned the past 5 times was this:
(1) If you don’t budget specific time for writing, it won’t happen
(2) If you don’t have friends writing with you, it won’t be nearly as much fun
(3) If you don’t have a plan going in, it will be difficult. If you have a detailed outline, it will be easy.
Of course, this time around will be completely different. Whereas every prior year I had been in-practice with paper writing and fiction writing, I’ve been on a sort-of hiatus from the written word since my thesis & paper extravaganza last April. Whereas every prior year I wrote a story I had planned for a long time, this time around I will be using bits and pieces of a variety of story ideas but I have not as much structure built into the overarching plot yet. Whereas before I usually had at least one good friend keeping me company on my writing stints, this time around I am trying to do this solo. On the other hand, whereas every prior year I had been busy with papers and schoolwork and labwork, this year I have the benefit of large chunks of afternoon time free to do nothing but write, if I so choose. And I have a bunch of friends who are mostly passing on Nano-like activities due to having too much other writing to do, so I bet they can keep me company.
So I’m hopeful. But I think this year will be more of a personal challenge re: crafting something I’m proud of than previous years.
Of course, the advantage of Nanowrimo is that it’s not supposed to be good, it’s just supposed to be written.
And also of course, I’m already behind on my word count. So I’m going to go write some ridiculous science fiction. Wish me luck!
If any of you are participating this year, please leave your experiences in the comments! I’ll be back next Monday with a recap of the week, and how my expectations will have (probably) completely changed.