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thumbnail From the Front Lines of NaNoWriMo

by Sharon Nagel on November 16, 2022
Tags: Adult (78), teens (16), writing (3)

In case you were not paying attention, November is National Novel Writing Month, when writers all over the world attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. I have done this successfully a few times. It is an excellent way to jump start the writing process, as the whole point is to just write as much as you can, without editing or second-guessing yourself. That way, at the end of the month, you have the first draft of your novel, even though it is usually messy and awful. 

My writing partner, Jocelyn Cole, and I write cozy mysteries under the pseudonym of Juneau Black. We wrote the first book in the series, Shady Hollow, in 2010 during NaNoWriMo. Technically, we were cheating, as this is supposed to be a solo activity. But we had a good idea, and we wanted to see if we could make it a book. We took turns writing, one of us on odd days, and the other one on even days, and we emailed a Word document back and forth. This system seems to work for us because this month we are starting the 5th book in the series. 

If this sounds like fun to you, you should visit www.nanowrimo.org and see what it is all about. According to the website:

     "National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave as novelists."

There are usually two kinds of writers, pantsters and plotters. Plotters outline their stories and plan ahead what they are going to write. Pantsers just write whatever come into their heads, flying by the seat of their pants. I am a pantser, and Jocelyn is a plotter. This balances things out for us. I have also learned that it is far easier to write when you have created an outline, although I still don’t like it.

One of the plus sides to creating an account and posting your progress on the NaNo site, is that you get the support of thousands of people that are attempting to do the same thing that you are. There are numerous chat threads, pep talks from published authors, and even community events that take place both virtually and in person. All of this helps to encourage writers, experienced and new, to buckle down and crank out their 50,000 words. It’s not to late to sign up and try it yourself.