08 October 2012

NaNoWriMo prep: committing to the challenge

Once again, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is approaching, and it's time to start thinking about how to cram novel-writing into an already busy schedule and life.

I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year in an attempt to finally finish the coffee house book. (Since the story of the coffee house book has changed so much since I first wrote it for NaNo--and I've essentially started over with all the background work--I've decided it counts to write this month.) To do that, I'm making a double commitment/challenge. This month, I will finish the background work needed to start writing the coffee house, and during November, I will write the first draft of the coffee house book.

For those who have never done NaNoWriMo, let me explain. The event takes place in November every year and is the opportunity for the "someday" writers to sit down and actually get it done. The challenge is to write 50,000+ of a book in 30 days. I have participated off and on since 2004 and "won" twice. (And really, the coffee house book began as an idea for NaNoWriMo.) For those who participate, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience, reminding you that you can make time to sit and write the story that's been following you around for years.

Yes, it's difficult. And I have a dear friend and fellow writer who did it and then swore to me--and everyone who would listen--she would never do it again. But I have another friend who did and not only has she done it every year since, but also participates in Camp NaNoWriMo throughout the year.

Now please don't think that you have to write a finished novel in 30 days. That's not what this is about. It's simply about putting the words down on the page. Sure, the overall goal is to write a novel, but the real goal is to prove to yourself you can make the time to write.

That's the biggest excuse, isn't it? You say you don't have time to write a novel. I've even used that excuse recently. But NaNoWriMo takes that excuse away. Because if you can write a novel draft in 30 days, there's no reason you can't carry that over to the rest of the year to tell the stories you want to tell.

If you've never done NaNoWriMo before, I urge you to try it this year. I'll be doing it right along with you. You never know what you're capable of until you sit down and actually try it. Take the challenge and on December 1st, you'll have a story. Even if you don't hit 50,000 words by the end of the month, every word you write will be one more word you didn't have on October 31st, and that's something, isn't it?

Are  you doing NaNoWriMo this year? What are you going to be writing?


  1. Wow! That sounds like a formidable challenge. I was on vacation last month. I should have tried it then. But you're right. If you really want to write, you can make the time for it.

  2. Making the time always seems to be the biggest challenge. But every moment you find to put words on paper gives you more words than you had before, and so I think it's always worth it!

    I know of a woman who wrote a novel 15 minutes at a time, spread out during her day. She made the time!

  3. I'm starting a new series that I'm only writing for Nano and Camp. I find that Nano goes by so fast, even with a little guy around here to keep me busy. The only year I didn't finish was 2010, when I was pregnant and just couldn't find the energy to write. I'm very excited! And if I can rewrite my first novel for camp, I think you can work on the coffee house book. :)

  4. Thanks for the encouragement, Kelly! I'm really excited to be working on the coffee house book in a more focused way!


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