Tag: National Novel Writing Month

Writing Inspiration: Word Counts

Anyone out there doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, awesome!  Congratulations, have fun, and good luck! I participated in–and won–NaNo about five times, I think. Tried another time, but got sidetracked with depression. Working on that story, Siren Song, now, three years later.

The goal of NaNo is to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words during the month of November. That’s 1,667 words a day, a respectable chunk of words. Twice, I wrote 100,000 words for NaNo. Please don’t ask me how, as writing 500 words at a time now seems almost overwhelming, sigh.

But having a word count goal keeps me motivated to get those words in. If I were just to sit down and write without a goal, it wouldn’t happen. Everything would distract me. Every single thought. Every noise. Every movement. Having a word count goal gives me the push I need to just do it.

Does anyone else write with a word count goal?

Things I Learned from NaNo (just not this year)

I may not be participating in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the beauty of some of the things I learned over the years I did participate (I feel pretty ancient after that statement).  Sure, it’s a crazy frenzy of pouring thousands of words straight from your heart to the page (or the screen), but that doesn’t mean it’s all impulse.  Here are a few of the things I learned from NaNo.

1)  Have a plan.  This doesn’t mean you have to have a detailed line-per-scene outline complete with character names, descriptions, and complete family history going back ten generations, but it should probably be more than “Write about apples.”  (Why apples?  I don’t know.  That’s what popped into my head.  Thanks, Muse.  Such a smart-Alec.)  My personal favorite is a brief 2-3 sentence synopsis of the major scenes, plus a mention of anything that pertains to that scene that the Muse might give me (Like, “It would be really funny if the story opened with her tripping and almost falling into the casket in the middle of the funeral.  Flashing the audience would be great, too.”  Again, thanks, Muse.  True story.).

2)  Have goals.  Goals are pretty important in writing, I’ve found.  How else are you going to write 50,000 in 30 days if you don’t know that you need to hit 1,667 words per day?  Word count goals no longer work for me (at least not currently).  Now I go with pages.  My goal may be a paltry 2 pages per week right now, but it’s a goal.  (Don’t judge me.  I have a lot going on, and my days only have 24 hours in them.).

3)  Have friends.  By “friends” I mean “fellow writers you can talk to.”  Trust me, non-writers do not get it.  Just because I’m a writer does not make me a poet.  Or a biographer.  (The two most common “You should write–” suggestions I get.  Why would I want to write about your life?  Yes, you’ve done some stupid things, but it’s really better if we don’t publicize them…).  If you hit the wall while writing, writing friends are a helpful support group, always available for hand-holding, pep talks, and/or moving the bottle out of your reach.

So, there you go.  A few helpful tips   Now, back to your keyboards!  Those 1,667 words aren’t going to write themselves (probably).  I’m off to work on my plan (since the Muse hasn’t seen fit to grace me with one for The Fall yet…).

NaNo Wishes

It’s November.  Not a news flash, I know.  But if you’re a writer, you might know this month better as National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo.  If you don’t know, NaNo is all about writing a complete, 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

The first novel I ever completed was my first year doing NaNo.  I’ll never forget the rush, the thrill of knowing I was writing alongside thousands of other writers all over the world.  That alone was inspiration enough, but if my motivation ever flagged or I had questions, the forums were a fantastic place to go find it again or find answers.  I didn’t finish that novel in November, but I finished it just a few weeks later.  Since then, I’ve honestly forgotten how many times I’ve done–and “won”–NaNo, but I think it’s at least four (For the record, at least twice I wrote 100,000 words during NaNo.  Yes, I’m a masochist.  And clearly insane.  I have papers.)  I was even wearing my NaNo shirt when I met Laurell K. Hamilton, and she asked me about it because she’d never heard of it.

I haven’t done NaNo for the last…um, four years, I think.  Because of school mainly.  I can only juggle so much, and what amounts to two full-time jobs keeps me pretty busy.  I haven’t even found time to write a single page in weeks, much less around 1,700 words a day.  (There isn’t enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake for all that.)  But in early October, when I remembered it was almost time for NaNo, I was tempted.  Oh, so very tempted.  Fortunately, common sense prevailed.  I have a little.  And, in the face of working 3 11-16-hour days a week, plus 2 8-or-so-hour days doing homework, and crazy busy weekends filled with half-marathon training…Yeah, common sense sucks, but it was right.

But I’d like to wish everyone doing NaNo lots of luck (and caffeine).  If you are so fortunate, I’d really like to hear about how well it’s going.