I love National Novel Writing Month.

My first recollection of it is from 2003 when someone on a Mornington Crescent site mentioned it. It sounded amusing, but I didn’t see at the time how I would have the time, and I think it was mentioned a few days into November. I mean, 50,000 words in 30 days is one thing, but 50,000 words in 25? From a cold start? Nah.

Then I was reminded of it again the following year. 2004 was the year I trained for and completed a marathon, and so I was looking for another challenge after that. I heard that Chris Baty, the NaNoWriMo founder, was doing a talk at Powell’s to promote his book “No Plot? No Problem!” and I went along out of interest. I left a convert.

I knew I could do it. This was only a few days before November, so I dusted off a story about vampires that I had tried unsuccessfully to write a couple of times before, wrote out some chapter outlines, and had at it.

That was fun, so I did it again the following year, and again, and again… 2012 will be my ninth event.

I’ll have separate posts on how I approach NaNoWriMo, but in the meantime take this as a reminder that November is coming. You have three weeks to figure out what you are going to write.

Who’s with me?

8 Replies to “NaNoWriMo”

  1. Kim says:

    I went to hear Chris that night, too! And it led to my first NaNo victory. Before that, I had signed up for either two or three years but hadn’t actually written a thing. But listening to him talk, and talking to him a little bit afterward, really got me revved up. I think I might need to read that book again before this November.

    1. Dunx says:

      That’s a funny coincidence! He’s a great speaker. I heard him a couple of years later too when he was promoting the “novel kit in a box” thing.

  2. Ruthie says:

    I’m with you! I’m excited 😀

  3. Ian says:

    I did my first NaNo last year, and completed a draft at about 52,000 words. It was a hugely enriching experience for me, since I’ve always been a short fiction guy, and had never attempted anything of that length before. I tried to clean up that (very messy) draft in the spring, but found that the story just wasn’t deserving of a whole lot more attention right now. It was an exercise, and a great one. This year, I wanted to get closer to what I consider an actual novel draft – 50,000, despite what Baty says, is a pretty tiny novel – and I was anxious to start on a story that I have been outlining for a while. That led me to my current plan of 80k in two months, a little slower pace than NaNo, but over a longer period and with a bigger final payoff in terms of word count. I like this story more than last year’s, and certainly feel more invested in making the characters work.

    1. Dunx says:

      I’m glad it was valuable. As you say, a 50k novel is too short to be published in adult markets, although it’s a good length for younger audiences.

      Still, as a fellow cheater this year I will cheer you on in your efforts!

  4. Tara says:

    Wow, I’m impressed, nine years of NaNo and still going strong? Wish I was as adapt at writing as you – I barely squeezed out the needed 50,000 last year, and while I would love to participate again, I have a feeling that college will be sucking up all my time this November. 🙁 But we’ll see – thanks for the heads up, and best of luck this coming November! 🙂

    1. Dunx says:

      It’s an addiction, now – hard to give up and risk breaking the streak!

      Just participating in NaNo puts you thousands of words ahead of those who never write, and you completed it – that’s brilliant! There’s no shame in putting your education first.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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