READY, SET, NANO!


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As of midnight on Saturday, November 1, hundreds of thousands of writers around the world sat down at their laptops and began banging out words. I was one of them. I wrote for about three hours and pounded out 3005 words.

None of us is sure if these words are the best prose ever written, grammatically correct or have the best descriptions. We don’t care. We just want to get to that amazing star number of 50,000. Or as in my case, I want to reach 70,000.

I just heard a collective, “Gasp! Is she nuts, crazy, stupid”?

Nuts and crazy, yes. Stupid, definitely not.

I am writing a prequel novelette and a novella which is the first in a trilogy. I need to finally finish these first drafts before I lose what’s left of my mind.

One of the reasons I love NaNo is that it gives me the opportunity to push myself in ways I normally don’t. I do not have an agent, nor a publisher breathing down my neck for results. So, I tend to take my time. Unfortunately, in taking my time, I generally end up procrastinating and chasing my muse all over creation trying to get it to do its job.

WIth NaNo, I am forced to get’er done. I have accountability from other writers from my writing group, so there’s always someone ready to crack on push me if I slow down. I may have lost last year, however, I intend to finish strong this year.

Everyone participating in NaNoWriMo tends to fall into one of the following categories:

  • Starts out strong–ends strong
  • Starts out strong–withers, then crams to finish
  • Starts out strong–roller coasters it to the end
  • Starts out strong–then withers and doesn’t finish
  • Starts out slow–builds momentum and finishes strong
  • Starts out slow–stays slow, finishes way after the end date.
  • Starts out slow–gives up.

All of us, in the beginning, believe that we are in the first group. Then life happens–the dog is puking on the carpet, all four kids have Thanksgiving plays, your boss tells you to start a new massive project, and the muse is M.I.A.

How do we stay focused when so much is happening? We eat the elephant, one bite at a time.

Try to set aside two hours a day five or six days a week and use that time to pound out your 2000+ words. Tell the kids to go outside and play, or watch a Disney movie. Ask the spouse to cook dinner, (or get a great crock pot), and put your fingers to tapping. Whatever your distractions, there’s always a way to get the writing accomplished. It just takes some creativity and sacrifice.

If you can’t do that, then try writing on your lunch break and staying up one hour later than normal or, getting up an hour earlier.

Finding the time to write is one of the biggest interferences to writing–more so during the month of November. But you can do this. You can write the book that has gestated in you.

So ready, set, get your NANO on!!!


If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year, please feel free to add my as a buddy on NaNoWriMo.org. My user name is yiwashington. Also, if you were thinking about it but haven’t started yet, now’s the time. Go to http://nanowrimo.org, create an account, and get writing.

Leave me a comment letting me know how many words you’ve managed since 11/1. I’m truly interested to know.

Until next week,

“So Writer, you’re trying to write a novel in 30 days. Has anyone told you you’re crazy yet? You’re not crazy. I promise.” James Patterson NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

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