MIA & NaNo 2011


Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.

Who is this person?!

I’m sorry for my unexplained absence! I had to relinquish my blogger position as a weekly blogger because my Sophomore year of college started and rather grabbed me by the collar. I’ve been busy finishing articles, writing outlines for speech papers (funfun), working at Caribou and smelling like a coffee bean, and getting addicted to iced espressos. Which means caffeine headaches. Never thought this would happen . . .

Anyway! Looking at this website has been causing me some guilt for some time now, so I’m back with a post to clear my conscience for a little bit. The post in question is actually going to be about the only thing I’ve been thinking of (writing wise) for at least a few months.


I am now feeling jittery just thinking about it . . . 
And no, that ISN’T because I have ounces of caffeine pumping through my blood.

I hope everyone here knows what National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNo) is. If not, you’re missing out. Here’s the basic jist of it (an explanation) via a way anyone can enjoy.

Reference to Old Spice Guy, anyone?

In more thorough terms, and this is according to the NaNo website:

“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”

The idea is crazy. Even more so when you consider that I am in college working my job nearly every day. However, there is something in the power of a deadline and the freedom to write like a nutcase for an entire month without being criticized (well, okay, you’ll still be teased and mocked by family and friends who don’t understand the craze for writing so much in so little time, but that’s a small price to pay for the amount of AWESOMENESS that lives within the month of November).

Perhaps I romanticize the idea way too much. I mean, come on, writing in a coffee shop every day with an unlimited supply of iced espresso (with white chocolate!)? Eating junk food distractedly while pounding furiously at your keyboard, half crazed? Staying up half the night trying to force out 4,000 words because you got behind two days ago and are suffering the consequences for it? Procrasinating on the NaNo forums, posting about the crazy spider bite you have on your left foot, anything to avoid writing another word? What about all the twists and turns of the plot that leave you overjoyed and/or pulling your hair out?

Am I the only one who feels thrilled by the notion?

Granted, I haven’t written anything since the beginning of June (and no, the short story I wrote yesterday about a freak car accident doesn’t count — that was a mix brought together by a random, online prompt and the 90s television show, Charmed) and any sort of writing sounds like heaven. Seriously, though. National Novel Writing Month was created as the perfect way to get any thumb-twiddling writer back up and running again. By being given a deadline, a support group, and the threat of a legion of flying monkeys in viking helmets descending upon your head dare you decide to give up, writers like myself are more likely able to actually write something of consequence in a month. I know without the deadline, I probably would stay in this odd not-writing-do-I-even-have-time sort of slump (a slump I completely hate, btw!).

I’m totally ready for NaNo, too! My NaNo account is all polished up, my writing books all dusted and waiting for action . . . I’ve checked out the forums, and my story has a good 36 pages worth of plotting and character development, backstory and turning points ready for quick reference. I have novel soundtracks and ramen noodles all stocked up for my noveling convenience. Really, all I have to do is wait, suspended in this half-impatient state of longing, until November comes knocking at the door.

I really encourage anyone and everyone who has time, or doesn’t have time, to try their hand at National Novel Writing Month this year. This gentle nudge from me to you is furthered by the fact that the founder of NaNo, Chris Baty, is retiring from running it after this year to become a full-time novelist, so it would really be memorable to at least attempt it this November. PLUS, the more people join, the more support there is for those who have already decided to do it (hinthint).

Or, at least, during the month of November I give you all leave to threaten me within an inch of my life if I slack off or “give up” halfway through.

If anyone is interested in learning more, click HERE.

And to end this post, I leave you with an optional youtube video about NaNoWriMo (anyone say musical?)


3 thoughts on “MIA & NaNo 2011

  1. I am in a frenzy trying to come up with an idea. I was going to be writing a novel with my friend, but she bailed. Now I have less than two months to think up a novel idea! TWO MONTHS! Last November I started writing five days late and came up with an idea on the spot. I didn't plan at all. Do you have any helpful tips to come up with a (preferable multiple) story idea? Please share.

  2. I would absolutely love to do NaNoWriMo, but I have no ideas whatsoever and I'm afraid it's too late to write as detailed an outline as I want. (Winging it just doesn't work for me.)Ahhhgh! I want to so badly!! Perhaps I should organize a muse hunt… *pulls out butterfly net*

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