Friday was a very important day. It was October 1. That can only mean one thing…
We’re officially under one month from National Novel Writing Month!
I love NaNoWriMo. It’s my Christmas (and Christmas is my favorite holiday, so you KNOW I mean business when I say that). This will be my seventh year participating. Many of those years were such epic fails that it’s humiliating, but last year I finally crossed that 50k finish line to win.
The first year I participated was 2004, the November of my senior year of high school. My first NaNo novel was a ridiculous piece of fiction about a bunch of kids in the marching band. All the characters were very solidly based off of my fellow band geeks. Everyone got really into it–everyone who had a character in the story bugged me about it for the whole month and beyond. It was great fun, but I didn’t win. In fact, when I finally did finish the story, the whole thing only clocked in at about 25k. Fail.
Over the years, I’ve learned two important lessons to success. First of all, you have to be actually excited and invested in your story. It’s been the years that I was actually interested in what I was writing that I made a decent dent. The years when I just didn’t care that much, I would only write a couple thousand words for the whole month. The other thing I’ve learned is that you need to have a story that you can actually pull out to 50k.
That first attempt in November 2004 was clearly not a story I could stretch to 50k, seeing as how the finished product was half that. I have no idea if the other years I could have stretched, because most of the time, I wasn’t fully excited about the story anyway.
Then, last year, I had a story I was psyched about and was pretty sure I could pull to 50k. Granted, I also had a lot of unemployment-induced free time and a diet that I needed to distract myself from, but those were just extra helps. And I won! And I was excited and ran around and scared people by my enthusiasm and I printed my certificate and bought a winner’s shirt and stared at the pretty purple WINNER bar on my NaNo profile for a year.
This year is going to be interesting. I have a story I’m really excited for and looks like I can make into at least 50k. On the other hand, I also have a full-time job and limited free time when I’m not working (between working out and various appointments and my freelance job and my activities). Last year was a walk in the park with the free time. This year is going to be a real challenge.
I’m going to try to post updates on here. If I remember. And we all know how much I fail with that from time to time.
Yay NaNoWriMo!!! <3
“Over the years, I’ve learned two important lessons to success. First of all, you have to be actually excited and invested in your story.”
ABSOLUTELY. This is true for any long project NaNoWriMo or not. If I hadn’t absolutely loved my thesis, last year could have had the potential to really suck. Like I’ve said before, you’ll go for your M.F.A. someday and when you do, you’ll be very prepared. Great stuff, Erin. I like reading your posts.
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