National Novel Writing Month ends today.
Did you participate? Do you have an opinion on writing a novel in a month? In the official NANO, the rules are set, no editing and a total of 50,000 words wins.
What I dislike about NANO...
--It occurs in November, of all the months of the year, NANO is scheduled for Turkey Month. Don’t these organizers realize this is a four day holiday at best? Make that five days if you’re being realistic. We all know baking/travel starts the day before Thanksgiving.
Or...did some genius realize that writers could harness all the adrenaline associated with the start of the holiday season?
--No editing...Wow...seeing those red squiggly lines for misspelled words drives me crazy. Bend a little...let me spell check, at least.
--Keeping up the pace is exhausting...after my first NANO I was exhausted!
Ah, but pacing is the secret. Try to write each day. Life will taunt you. We’ve already established that five days are lost. How about weekends? Saturday and Sunday off or spent writing? Your decision. Once you work out a plan, divide the number of days you can realistically expect to write into the 50,000 words and get the total words you need to write each day. It’s micro-managing. But it works.
--You concentrate on one manuscript for a month...what if you get stuck?
With the ‘build your own NANO’ you can switch manuscripts as inspiration strikes.
--You end up with 50,000 words...that could be c@#$!
But don’t forget, Queen Nora says you can’t edit a blank page. Your finished product might not work perfectly, but unless you copied the back of the cereal box or typed out your recipes to boost your word count, you have a story to revise.
BUT...that’s another monthly challenge!
Now, least you think I hate NANO, here are the reasons I’m drawn to the challenge year after year...
--I love the friendship...strangers from around the world jumping in and cheering each other. The official NANO site is bustling with group activities.
I can’t imagine how anyone can participate in all the events and meet their goal of a 50,000 word novel. Other sites offer slightly different options. At e-harlequin you can build your own NANO...need to edit a manuscript? Ok. Need to finish the manuscript you’re half-way through and stat another? Write a synopsis? Ok. And I love the checking in...
--I love the pace. After that first year, when I met my goal, but was too exhausted to care, I’ve learned to find a schedule that works for me.
--But the thing I love most about NANO is jumping into my story and staying there until the end.
You get to know your characters better. You feel part of the story, unlike taking breaks or writing here and there. And you finish the manuscript with a sense of accomplishment that is missing in a novel written over a long period of time.
--And, you have this big pile of words you can whip into a real novel.
Do I like NANO? Yes! Did I plan to participate again this year? No!
After slugging through my own personal challenge the end of August and half of September I didn’t think I could stand the pressure.
So, what happened? I spent October organizing, planning, out-lining, selecting pictures...and wouldn’t you know, the building excitement on the group sites got to me.
Why not take part? [all the reasons listed in the dislike section...]
So here I am the LAST DAY of NANO...way past my goal, reaching for a new personal record of words written in one month.
Am I sorry? Oh, no! Exhausted? No more so than after any huge Thanksgiving event. Will I take part again next year?
What do you think?
Did you participate in this marvelous world-wide writing month? What are you thoughts on NANO?