In some parts of the world, NaNoWriMo has already begun, but in North America, the 30-day writing marathon starts in a few hours. In previous years, I’ve always made a point of not posting on this blog much during the month of November, simply due to the chaos of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month, but after three consecutive years of success, I want to share my writing process this year with my readers in the aniblogosphere, as a number of them are also planning on doing NaNoWriMo as well.
Why do NaNoWriMo?
If you’re reading this blog, chances are pretty good that you write a blog as well. You know what it’s like to maintain a writing schedule with posts and all of that bloggy goodness. But when it comes to the creative writing process, writing prose fiction (or even nonfiction), there aren’t really that many bloggers outside of writing blogs that actually write. I myself will even admit, like others, I “can’t” find time to write.
That’s bullshit. There’s always time to write, even otuside of writing for a blog. NaNoWriMo is a great way to get into the groove of writing fiction on a sustained level (even if it’s only for a month). Through the power of the legendary tandem of goal and deadline, as well as sheer peer pressure (being around other writers is such a great motivator to write), November is the most opportune time of the year to try it out.
For first-timers, participating in NaNoWriMo is a life-changing experience, regardless of whether or not you are able to cross the 50,000-word mark the first time. The experience of buckling down, working hard, and simply writing something other than a blog post serves as a gateway into more wonderful creative things. You get a whole lot of insight into the writing process, discovering what it takes to get that first draft down, and discovering that your first draft always sucks, no matter how long it took for you to complete it.
Nisio Isin did twelve consecutive NaNoWriMos, which, after a sufficient amount of editing, turned into Katanagatari. I cannot guarantee that you can write the next Haruhi series in the next 30 days, but you’ll be closer to that goal just by doing NaNoWriMo than writing nothing at all.
I have no idea what I’m going to do. Is it still too late to join?
As of this post, it will be almost 2 hours remaining until the clock hits midnight, and I’m still scampering around for an idea. And that’s completely okay. The whole premise of NaNoWriMo is that a free-spirited writing approach is needed in order to get the story from your head into words on a page or on a screen. In the same way that a person can come up with really interesting ideas from a short 30 minute free-writing session, one can do the same thing on a grander scale in 30 days.
50,000 words spread out over the course of the month of November amounts to a rather hefty 1,667 words per day. It sounds like quite a bit, but assuming that a person types 40 words per minute (very reasonable standards for a person who uses a computer quite often), only 1,250 minutes of typing time is required in total. That’s barely 21 hours, half the time that I’ve logged on Pokemon Black 2, which I only bought last week. Add half of that total for time spent thinking about what should be written, and that’s approximately 30 hours, which is only an hour a day. Even if you join as late as a week in, you’ll only have write for an hour and twenty minutes per day.
And hell, that’s assuming that you even want to reach the goal. 50,000 words in 30 days is a nice metric to use to set a goal for writing, but the real goal here is to simply start writing in the first place. There are a whole lot of people who will join this year, and will probably not be able to finish, but get the NaNoWriMo bug that itches them when October comes around next year. Some of them will simply get the writing bug, and will go on to be lifelong writers.
Okay, I’m in. How do I join?
Firstly, if this is your first NaNoWriMo, then go sign up for an account/profile thingamajig here. You can use the site to update your wordcount, showcase your story with a short blurb, contact other people in your local area who are also writing this month, and even buy some awesome merchandise and help out a good charity. Once that’s done, all you have to do is do your thing and write. Once the 30th starts drawing near, you can tally your final wordcount and declare yourself a winner. You win absolutely nothing, but you get a whole rough draft that you can polish into something potentially awesome. Oh, and you’ll feel superior to everyone else when you take your 100+ page manuscript to a coffee shop and start scribbling stuff in with red ink.
This year, I’ll be setting up a skype chat for people in the Aniblogosphere (bloggers and readers alike) for anyone in the aniblogosphere. There will be lots of writing, and a lot of smug talk about how much better we are for spending our time writing and not watching OniAi (spoiler: some of us will watch it anyway and still write our novels). If you’re interested, hit me up on twitter for details and I’ll add you to the chat.
In closing, this post is about a thousand words long, and only took me about 40 minutes to write. Just gotta do that fifty times, and that’s a novel right there. I’ll be dropping some short posts here and there regarding NaNoWriMo and the experience of going through this really cool event. Keep an eye out for it. Good luck to everyone this November!