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National Novel Writing Month

Tuesday, November 6, 2007
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If you’re a writer, you have to have been hiding under a rock not to know that November is National Novel Writing Month. While I still don’t understand the thought process behind choosing a month that not only contains a major holiday, but is the lead-up to the biggest time-gobbling holiday of the year, I am all for a month where tens of thousands of writers come together with a single purpose: to write as much as we possibly can in one month’s time.

The stated goal of NaNoWriMo is for the participant to write a 50,000 word “novel” between November 1 and November 30. Local area groups have “write-ins” where people meet up at a local coffee shop and bring their laptops and sit and write for hours. There are kickoff parties, midway parties, and wrap-up parties. The NaNo site has forums for discussion on all topics of writing—from the basics to genre-related concerns. There’s also the networking capability of hooking up with “buddies” through their site so that we can each check each other’s progress, send messages, etc. (although most of my buddies are fellow ACFW or MTCW members, and it’s easier for us to communicate directly). It’s like a month-long, long-distance writing conference.

My goal this year is to get my small-town fiction novel, Peace in the Valley, finished. I have about 50,000 words to go, so it’s the right length for what everyone else is working on. Unfortunately, I didn’t meet my previous goal of finishing revisions on Ransome’s Honor by October 31. I took Friday and Monday off work this weekend, which was supposed to be for forging ahead and getting several chapters of PitV written . . . but turned out to be the time I needed to get RH finished (which I’m very pleased to say I did, though it needs one more round of revisions to truly meet my vision of the final story).

So, I officially started NaNo yesterday–I wrote 1,464 words, after spending most of the day re-reading the original eight chapters and doing some background work on characters and setting. If I am to have this book finished by Thanksgiving (my original goal), I will need to write 3,333 words per day between now and Tuesday, November 20th (because I’m driving to Arkansas the 21st and will not have time to write the rest of the holiday weekend). This is doable for me. It’ll mean lots more time spent writing than I’ve been committing to it recently, but I can do it. And I need to. This taking two or three years to get a manuscript finished is for the birds. My first three manuscripts, I churned out in nine, seven, and four months respectively—and that was when I was working full time and taking nine hours of undergrad courses every semester.

I never thought I’d say this: thank goodness for the screenwriters’ strike. That means more reruns and less temptation to watch TV in the evenings (though most of my “must see” shows are those that stockpiled episodes). I’ve mentioned before how I work best with schedules and deadlines, so starting today, I’m putting myself back on a strict schedule in the evenings to make sure that I’m not procrastinating on either writing or going to the gym to workout . . . which will be even more important than ever if I’m going to be trying to get that much writing done. I cooked a lot this weekend—huge pot of soup, a pork roast (2-3 lb. Boston butt, all surfaces sprinkled with Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning; place in baking dish with one onion cut into large pieces and one cup of water; bake in a 350-degree oven for about two-and-a-half or three hours–yummy!), and a few other things that will be easy to pull out and warm up in the microwave over the next couple of weeks.

All of that is to say that I will not be starting a new blog series until after Thanksgiving, as I need to concentrate on writing. I will be posting every day—so don’t leave me!—just no series.

3 Comments
  1. Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:20 pm

    A strict schedule is a good thing, even though it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. I have do go back to some night writing too. Daytime is too full to get much accomplished. Glad you made some progress!

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  2. Tuesday, November 6, 2007 3:48 pm

    Congrats on the new words! Writing goals are great! First get it written, then get it right…that’s my motto for NaNo! I’m off to write! Woohoo!

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  3. Wednesday, November 7, 2007 3:04 pm

    Cheers! Waving, hands flailing up and down, from the sidelines with the ball and chain of revisions around my ankle.

    Keep us posted!

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