Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Writing, and Consequences

Drowning in it, but still having fun
    I read a joke about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that defined "NaNoReMo" as the month in which agents reject all the books that were written in one month.

    Funny, but ironic. Successful authors need to write more than one book. If you're under contract with a publisher, you may be expected to write between one and four books a year. Subtract time for research, editing, and a day job or two, and writing a book in about a month starts to sound reasonable.

    As a college student I learned how to identify "good" writing. As a graduate student I learned more about "effective" writing. But how to actually sit down and write? The myth of a writer is that she has time for Inspiration and her goth sister Navel Gazing, and that you can all spend long hours looking out the window together, waiting for the words to come. It's great work if you can get it.

    In October and November the writing blogs are filled with excellent articles on organization, plot structure, and mapping techniques. Writers with real lives and successful writing careers talk about how they manage it. There are pep talks, twitter feeds, forums, and books about writing are discounted or offered for free on line. The resources are as pragmatic as you need them to be, and since there's a deadline, you'll use them.

    Every writing book I've ever read says that to become a writer, you need to actually write. NaNoWriMo helps hundreds of thousands of writers accomplish that each November. It also helps us deal with the world of deadlines and contracts, and that's no joke.


  1. I love this post. It's so true--to write, you need to sit down and write. Period. You need to fit it in, somehow, between the day jobs and kids and errands. (Something I'm not doing well write now as my day job has turned into Godzilla the Day Job.) We all have to ditch our goth sister Navel Gazing.

  2. I totally share your sentiment, Cynthia, and I'll admit I've never participated in NaNoWriMo. Nothing good can come of one month of spontaneous, unedited writing. LOL!

    I like your message: just write. :-) I tell myself to do that when I've come up against a chapter I don't know how to start. I tell myself, just write something -- even if its silly and awful and you'll never use it. It's a start. By the eighth time you've re-written it, it'll be awesome ;-) LOL!

  3. Thanks, Karin and Gwen. You should see the running tally of things I have to address in the rewrite! I like editing, though, so it's good motivation for me to keep my paws off of it until I'm done.

  4. I think that with every book we write, whether it takes a month or a year, we learn and grow as writers, absorbing more and more about the craft. Happy writing to you :)

  5. I strongly agree. Writing is an art, though it needs concentration like what you've done, sitting while looking outside the window. With such atmosphere, words will definitely keep on popping on your mind. I envy writers who can come up with chapters and a novel, afterwards. I wonder, if I try doing the tips they shared with us, maybe, possibly, I can make one too. You have that hidden talent that all of us adores and dreamt of having. Best of success to your writing career.