Friday, November 02, 2012

Busy Writing (It's NaNoWriMo After All)

Four years playing, four years
'winning'. Wish me luck.
It's the second day of NaNoWriMo and I'm writing. Last night I took part in a fun event at the local library with my cohorts in my writer's group and the Cafe. I've got a post about what the month will look like from my POV over there today and that's likely the last coherent thing I'll type online until sometime after Thanksgiving.

So, following are the remarks I intended to make at the library. I suspect I went a little off-script and I think there was a video camera rolling while we all spoke. We'll reconcile the two (or not) when it's time. There is a bit of news buried in the text, too. (UPDATE: It wasn't nearly as formal as I prepared for and I leave the text below as indicative of what I actually said. When the video is available I'll link to it. Also, there was an incredible class of sixth-graders there that blew me away with their story ideas. Their teacher (Mrs. Barbour?) is 'making' them write novels. This is soooo cool. You should have been there.)

Anyway, here they are. Updates on wordcounts and story problems as I can. See you on the other side.


Please forgive the pseudo-confessional nature of this talk but NaNoWriMo is the best thing that’s happened to me in terms of being a writer. I’ve found a community of like-minded, creative individuals and my stories have gotten better and better every year I’ve been a part of it.

My name is Jason and I’m a serial NaNoer. 2012 is my fifth year and I’ve officially ‘won’ every time I’ve participated. My first two novels were complete stories. The first was right at 50,000 words and the second a little over 60,000. The third novel was incomplete but clocked in at 60,000 words, too.

Last year’s novel is the exception. I wrote 60,000 words in November but the story wasn’t done. I kept writing. And I kept writing. Finally I finished the novel around the middle of December. At a little over 90,000 words the book was the longest single work I’d written and I kept thinking it was the best, too.

I let it sit for a while, got some very positive feedback that was encouraging and finally got around to editing it. Recently I sent the book to a publisher and got a great note back asking for some changes and to resubmit it.

I’m telling you this story so that if your goal is to get published NaNo is your first step, If this is your first NaNo welcome. If it’s not, welcome back. All month long, remember that NaNoWriMo is a process, a way to learn how to write – a means to an end rather than an end itself. A ‘revise and resubmit’ note is the result of four years of telling big stories and writing constantly.

Don’t worry about how good or not good your story is this month. Worry about putting your main character in some kind of predicament that must be overcome. Worry about the ending and how to get there. Worry about how much coffee it will take to fuel that kind of writing.

And come to the write-ins.

This community of writers will push you to get there. The sound of a dozen or more writers tapping madly away at their keyboards during a word sprint is oddly comforting and weirdly inspiring. (I’ll take the adverbs ending in –ly out later.) You’ll laugh with us and cringe at bad jokes. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll feel part of the group, this community of friends who just happen to be writers.

If you can’t make the write-ins, visit the forums. I exhort you to become part of this community. You’ll do more.

Feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the forums. Check in with us on Twitter and at the Facebook group. In December and January, come to the meetings. You won’t believe how your writing will change and grow. I bet you’ll keep coming back.

I bet you’ll become a serial NaNoer, too.

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