Sunday, November 01, 2009

NaNoWriMo

I have a love/hate relationship with NaNoWriMo. It can be a great jumpstart and kick in the pants--I have several clients doing it for that reason. It can also be a huge amount of pressure, causing people to abandon families, work, and anything rational for a month. And then, when those writers finish writing their novels... they send them out right away, without editing or critique feedback or any sort of polishing.... which is pretty much an agent's worst nightmare.

But despite that, I think it's a great impetus for writers. If you know that you're going into this with the understanding that you are producing a FIRST DRAFT ONLY, then you can have a lot of fun in November. You'll have to edit it; you'll have to polish it; you'll have to let it sit for at least a month or more before sending it out to agents. But you may find out that it's something you never would have thought to write or you might discover that you have the ability to set a goal and work towards it, which is a very good thing for a writer.

So I invite you all to join me this NaNoWriMo. I'm modifying the guidelines for myself--I get credit in my head, I've decided, if I can dictate 10,000 new words on the novel I've been working on for forever. It's not a lot, but it's encouragement, and that's what I'm in it for.

How about all of you?

22 comments:

Kristin Laughtin said...

I too have a love/hate relationship. I do set writing quotas for myself, but find that 50,000 words is more than I can put out comfortably in a month. It feels like an artificial goal to me. My first drafts aren't perfect by any means, but I try to write as well as I can, and sometimes this means I put out quality over quantity. I can't bring myself to mentally reverse that. So I just try to write as much as possible in November!

Sarahlynn said...

I love NaNoWriMo, but I imagine I'd feel different if I were an agent! This is my fourth year participating, and I love the feeling of saying that I have three - soon to be four - practice novels under my belt.

Deadlines and competitions are very motivational for me. As a mom of two young children who does freelance work in the evenings, I need every extra bit of motivation I can get to keep my fingers at the keyboard!

And my NaNoWriMo novel number one is nearly ready to send out to beta readers! (It's been replotted, reworked, rewritten, and workshopped so much that it's unrecognizable from its original NaNo form.)

Elizabeth M. Thurmond said...

NaNo was an amazing kick in the pants for me last year -- I didn't reach 50K, but I wrote 30K on the novel that I'd had bouncing around my head for a long time, and that's now almost ready for me to send to my beta readers. It also taught me to just *write* and allow my first drafts to suck, which is something I've always had trouble doing.

This year my goal is 30,000 words across multiple projects -- and to write every day, which can be difficult because I have two jobs, one full and one part time -- but I am still going to at least try for 50K on the new novel, just to see if I can!

Bontems09 said...

I'm in. (anyone can buddy me as Scribble)
I got through 2600 words and a first chapter today.
If I make it it will be the most I've written in a month. I recently wrote my first MG novel at 45k in 8 weeks (that is still in 2nd draft stage).
Don't worry - I promise not to send it straight out, scout's honour.

sue laybourn said...

This is my first NaNoWriMo. I'm writing something that is outside of my usual genre (women's/historical) just to see how it goes. If I like what I see at the end of the month. I'll put it in storage for a little while before revising it and polishing it. I've never written a dystopian type story before, so I'm looking forward to it. I like the distraction of challenging myself as a writer.
I'm off to a great start. 4,600 words.

Julie Weathers said...

I'm not participating. Far Rider has two chapters left to revise. Then I read back once more through the printed version and ship it off to beta readers. One last round of revising it it goes off in submission.

I think it would be less than professional to galavant off on a new project when people are waiting on this one.

Plus, I have to move in November. It's just not in the cards for me. I may have my Nano in January.

Richmond Writer said...

How do we find you on NaNoWriMo so we can follow your progress?

elizaw said...

I'm a big fan of NaNoWriMo-- I started my first in '07, and it taught me a lot about finishing stories, how to look at the plot as a whole instead of little details.

I'm almost done with that novel (finally). One last edit, and it gets to go agent-hunting with me.

Sarah Billington said...

I agree. Last year was my first NaNo and the goal for me then was to prove to myself that I COULD write a 50,000w novel in a month. And I did. I've never edited it, I wouldn't know where to start.
This year my goal is to take it slower, not write as much, but write better. But most importantly: To write.
It's a GREAT kick in the pants.

Jarucia said...

I have a totally love-love relationship with NaNo. Mostly because it's the one time of the year that I produce a large amount of new material.

I'm having fun with chick-lit this cycle. Maybe it'll be awesome, maybe it'll stink, either way I given myself some time to have a go at it.

And yes, I always continue NaNo produce a first draft...that's why I spend the rest of the year editing.

Have fun all you NaNo Newbies and Nutcases!

rebecca said...

This is my first year with NaNoWriMo, so I don't know that I've ever really formed an opinion of it. It's certainly just an impetus for me, a method of getting out of my own way when it comes to this new project that I really believe in. It probably won't even be a full first draft - I don't imagine 50,000 covering everything I want to cover - but it'll be a start. And I'm finding it's already challenging the way I think about writing. It'll certainly be an adjustment.

Soratian said...

Jenny, add Mary and me as writing buddies: I'm soratian and Mary is MaryRodgers.

gapyeargirl123 said...

I'm aiming for 30,000 this year, and along with some friends we're making our 30k goal 'IndyWriMo' - it gives us the companionship of other people with the same goal, and we're not killing ourselves trying to squash in 50.

Jenny Rae Rappaport said...

I'm not actually signed up on the NaNoWriMo site this year! :-)

ryan field said...

I've always wanted to enter, but never had time. And I've done 60,000 words in three weeks, on a tight dealine once, and I didn't like doing it.

Kat Harris said...

And then, when those writers finish writing their novels... they send them out right away, without editing or critique feedback or any sort of polishing...

I can't imagine why anyone would do this. As I was working on my NaNo book last night, I kept thinking to myself, "I'll have to modify this 100 times before I can even show it to crit partners."

I need to do it though. It is a nice kick in the rear end for someone who has put off working on a new project for far too long.

Kelly Bryson said...

I wrote my novel over the weekend, and it's awesome! I'm sending it right away!

Kidding, of course. It took me five months to finish my first draft, and I've already spent seven editing. Then beta readers and further revising (unless they tell me it's perfect as is!)A month can give you a good start on a novel, but I con't see how a person could finish one in that time.

I blogged on how "writing is rewriting", if anyone is interested:)

I enjoy your perspective, Jennifer!

corine said...

Great fun reading this. I wrote on the subject in my blog. You've got to know your limits in life.

Lori said...

I am trying it for the first time ever. Just the idea of having this deadline is giving me the kick start that I need!

asterling said...

I signed up . . . I remember when it started! I was scared to do it then. My friend Julie says she's still scared now. To me, it seems like cake right now - which is why my wordcount is totally behind. Write great, Jenny!!

writergal said...

I've written about 10K words but I haven't been all that "involved" in NaNO and that's the point I think. I haven't done any write-ins. I may try. I didn't write all week b/c I've had a terrible week.

Veronica Bartles said...

I'm grateful that I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, as it finally got me moving on the "someday" when I would write my novel. I did write more than 50,000 words in less than a month, and then I spent hours a day for the next year rewriting and revising and polishing and buffing my manuscript. Now, I think I'm finally ready to seek out a publisher/agent for my manuscript. That's what I'm working on this November. (Well, I've also started work on novel #2, but I couldn't wait until November 1st to get started, so it doesn't count...)