3 Reasons Why You Should Do Nanowrimo in the Year 2020

3 Reasons Why You Should Do Nanowrimo in the Year 2020

Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, participants from every town, city, and country come together to write a 50,000 word novel. It probably sounds like an impossible task, to write a full length novel in just thirty days. But for those in the know, it is only 1667 words a day, or about 3-4 pages, depending on the font and margins. It is hard, certainly not easy, but definitely not impossible. Sometimes the things that seem nearly impossible are the ones worth doing.

Whether you know for a certainty that you are going to do Nanowrimo, or whether you are still debating, straddling both sides of the fence, this post is for you. In this article, I will give you three good reasons why you should do Nanowrimo in the year 2020.

1–Join The Writing Community

In the years that I’ve done Nanowrimo, I’ve come to find that the writing community on the Nanowrimo website and Twitter is absolutely phenomenal. Over on the Nanowrimo forums, you can find support both for yourself and your work-in-progress (WIP). You can use the forums to seek help on a plot device that you’re struggling with or to take a short break by playing some word or roleplaying games. But most importantly, I’ve always felt accepted by the community at large.

In addition to the Nanowrimo forums, I’ve also found incredible, vast amounts of support on Twitter, both in November and during the rest of the year. On Twitter, there is a thriving, positive community of writers who are ready to support you by giving advice, answering questions, promoting books, but most of all, having fun. You can access this community by simply using the hashtag #writingcommunity.

2–Unleash Your Creativity

With the busyness of the daily grind of work, sleep and paying bills (not necessarily in that order), it is hard to find the time to devote yourself to the arts. Fortunately in the year 2020, there has clearly been an explosion of creativity by artists, writers, bloggers, vloggers, and more. So let’s continue to champion this creativity by writing a novel in November. Let’s take a break for an hour or two a day and write a couple a thousand words about another world.

It’s no secret that this year has been the strangest yet. We’re definitely not living in the most normal of times at the moment. So, let’s create a new world, a new normal, that we envision for ourselves, our children, and the future. One way that we can do this is by writing. By writing a 50,000 word novel in November, you get either continue to unleash that creativity or release it after keeping it bottled up for so long. What better time to do that in November, the month that writers get to party by having write-ins and celebrating writing as a wonderful medium of creative expression.

3–Write a Best-Selling Novel

Haven’t you ever wanted to see your name on a book? While there’s no guarantee that your Nanowrimo book will turn out to be an international bestselling novel, you won’t know until you try. If your Nanowrimo book turns out to be a horrible, poorly written first draft, then that’s okay. The important thing is that you finished writing a book. Badly written first drafts can be edited and revised again and again to perfection. A badly written first draft can still be a number one bestselling book.

While writing a bestselling book seems kind of farfetched to many of us, it is not impossible. If this year has taught us anything, it is that life is short and that we should embrace every moment. We should take chances. We should take risks. We never know what’s going to happen next.

So go out and do what you’ve always wanted to do. Success comes from trying again and again, and just maybe, you may be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.


No matter what happens, I think that we should all take a leap of faith and try. Go forth and write a novel in November. You will find a dedicated community of writers and you will be able to bring forth that creativity from within you. Go write the best that you can because life is amazing and so are you.

Do you have anything to add to this list?

Go to the Nanowrimo Official Website and sign-up!

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Writing is Magical

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Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve mentioned (time and again) that I love to write. I’ve told you about my experience participating in Nanowrimo. I’ve told you about how much I love to make-believe. And, believe me, writing is a big part of make believe.

But more than that, I enjoy the feeling that I get when I sit down in front of my laptop or my pen poised over paper as I prepare to write a word, a paragraph and the beginnings of a story. It’s a wonderful feeling of anticipation. I feel as if I am standing on the edge of a cliff about to jump without knowing what’s below.

Writing is the same way. When you write, you take risks. You start off with a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This eventually grows larger as you write. It eventually fills out as you create a new world composed of an entirely unique set of characters and places.

And this all came about from a single word, a single idea, or a short snippet of dialogue. This is why writing is truly magical.

#AmEditing Lessons

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Editing is hard. It’s frustrating. Editing involves taking a supposedly good piece of prose and then cutting out the stuff that is not needed. Writers go through and read what they wrote. They stress over analyze every single word, wondering if they should keep it or toss it. Whatever they decide, it is agony, like cutting open one’s own heart. Each word is precious to the writer. Each word appears proffered by the Writing God. Each word can not be thrown out lightly.

And yet, some words must in order for the story to flourish, to thrive and even to survive. Without doing so, the story stagnates and dies. But when the writer can somehow manage to cut out a couple of words to supposedly make the story that much better, it becomes magic. When a story turns from a tangled mess into a coherent whole, it is something that should be marveled at.

As someone who has just started to edit my own Nanowrimo novel from last month, I’ve learned a few things about editing and about my own writing…

  1. Editing can improve your writing

However tedious it is to comb through your own words, you will soon realize that it is well worth the hassle. Nobody can write a polished final draft the first time around. Yes, I firmly believe that everyone has a novel, a book, inside of them. But that book is not going to be perfect. It is going to have typos, misspelled words, grammatical errors, lapses in sentence structure, plot bunnies. Your plot will occasionally try to grab you and run away from you. Your plot will squirm and divide, becoming another thing entirely.

But at the end of the day, your first draft will become a second draft that will be that much better. And then, your second draft can become an even better third draft until, finally, it becomes the published masterpiece that you knew in your heart that you were always capable of creating. So, don’t give up. Because this process is part of the learning curve and your writing will improve.

2. Read out loud

I don’t care if you are in a room full of people. I don’t care if they start to stare. Say the words out loud. Trust me. The words will sound different out loud than inside your head, reverberating, echoing. Out loud, the words sound that much more richer, purer, finer. So, don’t be ashamed. Read out loud, slowly, letting your mouth form each word delicately, almost as if you are eating a delicious piece of dark chocolate that you wish to savor for all of eternity. Because, technically, you do want to keep your words as long as possible, and it is only when they are gone that you realize how much they were needed, or how much better off you are without them.

3. Cut, cut, cut! 

But eventually a few, some, most of your words have to be cut. That’s just part of the editing process. There’s nothing you can do about it. Just be quiet and cut out those toxic words. Cut out the one too many ‘said.’ Cut out the character who just won’t stop talking and is not moving the plot forward. Because that is the ultimate goal, ladies and gents. You’ve got to move the plot forward. You’ve got to have a character and then have them fight for what they want. Give them motivation. Give them wants and needs. Make them annoying. Make them ridiculously fun and weird but at the same time oh so relatable to the human condition. Make them real. Your characters are your best friends, your enemies, the neighbor across the street. They are people. Make them people. Cut out those words until your characters become fully fledged. Keep cutting until that happens.

4. …And then, write!

After you cut all the useless and redundant words out, then start writing. Write an entirely new description about your main character. Write a new piece of dialogue between your character and… someone else. Let your imagination flow. Let your words flow. Pretend that this is your first draft all over again. Write as if you haven’t just cut a million or so words from your story. Words will always exist but in different combinations, waiting to be ceased upon by you, the writer. Grab the words while you can. Trust that the story will form and soon you will have that perfect product that will be on your reader’s Kindle, Nook or in your local bookstore.

But until then, read, cut, read some more, write, read, cut and don’t stop until you have a piece that you are proud of, like your first born child.

 

Looking Back in Order to Move Forward

To be honest, I don’t really like long titles. I prefer short ones. The ones that make you stop and go “Hey! What’s that?” and then start you on a long process of rumination. But, for some reason, this title seems fitting somewhat. And when I’m writing, I tend to go with my gut instinct, with whatever sounds just right.

And the title is absolutely right! I am looking back towards 2015, at all the great changes that have happened this year. Perhaps at 26 I would have liked for some of the changes to happen just a little bit earlier. But I keep reminding myself that life happens at its own pace. Some of us are destined to have our lives picture perfect before the age of 24, while the rest of us are still struggling to find our footing, to discover who we were meant to be all along.

And even though I don’t believe in God, or any higher being, I still cling on to fate. Yes, I believe in fate. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything that has happened to me at 26 (and prior to that) will be revealed in due time. I have to believe. Otherwise, how can I continue to have faith that everything will be okay in the end? And I do believe that everything will be okay. In the end.

At the beginning of the year, you know that I was in school. I was attending Southern New Hampshire University online. Well, I finally did it! I graduated! I can now say that I am a college graduate. I have a B.A. in Communications. It is honestly the proudest moment of my life. I’ve been working toward this moment since I was in high school, first filling out college applications and taking the new SAT (by the way, there’s going to be a new new SAT in 2016. Why??).

My eight year journey of college (2.5 years at Furman University in SC, .5 year in Berlin, Germany and then 1.5 years at SNHU) finally ended in 2015. It took so long because I took a leave of absence that soon became a four year leave of absence. But those four years weren’t a complete waste. I wasn’t sitting at home, watching TV and netflix all day. I was working retail and then during my off hours I was trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Well, now that I am a college graduate, I have narrowed it down to Marketing, PR, Social Media and Higher Education. Of course, I’m still holding on to my old childhood dream of becoming a published writer (hopefully next year in 2016!).

Even though I haven’t yet found my dream job, I’m hoping that that will happen next year, in 2016. In the meantime, I am picking continuing to pick up valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom. Specifically, I have went on a handful of interviews (face-to-face, virtual, phone) and had the extraordinary opportunity to connect with various recruiters and HR managers. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively, as well as persuasively, to get my point across (although that last part is really due to my Communications degree).

Some of these interviews went well, some not so well. Regardless of the outcome, I learned something new from every single one. For example, I learned about presenting my best self forward. I also learned about each of these companies from countless hours of research.

As with every year since 1999, Nanowrimo happened again this year. And this year, instead of just reaching 50,000 and stopping, no matter what. I finished my novel. I began the month of November with a good idea of how I want to begin, and end, my book. I planned out my characters and my plot, and then made sure that I had conflict.

And I finished. I finally finished a novel at just under 60K. Currently, I’m in the middle of editing my book (another first!) Maybe, just maybe, I will try to get my book published next in 2016.

As a result of Nanowrimo, I’ve also started to use to Twitter. More. Much, more more. And I’m finding that I’m really enjoying it. I love interacting with people on social media. I love participating in Tweet Chats. For example, there was a #MillennialTalk Tweet Chat that I attended this evening. I feel like I learn something new whenever I’m on Twitter. And I’m lovin’ it!

And then, on a more personal level, I found out that I’m expecting. Currently, I’m 30 weeks. It’s been pretty easy so far, and for that I’m grateful.

So, 2015. 2015 was a year of change… graduation, writing, soon-to-b new baby. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold for me. Stay tuned for my next post which will focus on 2016 and my New Year’s resolutions and goals. But in the meantime, tell me how 2015 has been for you!

 

Winning NaNoWriMo

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Every November, I participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? It is a collaborative writing forum consisting of thousands millions of writers all around the world. It is an awesome and unique experience, uniting us all around a common goal: to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days — one month.

I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo every year since 2011. This is my fifth year participating and the first time I ever successfully completed and finished my novel. I concluded my NaNoWriMo novel at 58,475. That’s right. My novel has a beginning, middle and end. I printed all 199 pages of my manuscript out and will start editing in January, after a delicious break in December.

During this year’s NaNoWriMo, I’ve learned how important it is to keep writing no matter. Sometimes it’s important to skip around and write the ending before the beginning. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that NaNoWriMo is not just about churning out that perfect New York Times bestselling novel. It’s about getting to know your characters. Characters will scrabble. Characters will fight. But you’ve got to let your characters figure things out.

As a self-diagnosed perfectionist, I’ve often struggled to write a first draft novel that is perfect on the first try. But in reality, that is rarely the case. Writers write and then write again and again and again. Words are added, deleted, evaluated, omitted. Writing is constantly a process of trial and error. In the past, I expected perfection but in reality  you have to allow your characters, words, scenes to evolve and change each other.

This past November, I wrote as I did during my previous NaNoWriMo’s. In the past, I admit that I cheated by, for instance, not using contractions and thus creating two words instead of one. But this November, I didn’t. And I think I know why.

In the past, I was always more of a pantser instead of a planner. But this year, I vowed that things would be different. So, one day in October, I sat down, opened up my Google Drive and created a new document. I then set about writing up an online complete with chapter titles.

What this did for me was give me a path to follow. I was no longer writing in the dark. I wasn’t just blindly letting my characters take me where they wanted to go. Instead, I was writing within the confines of a plot that I had outlined. Within these confines, my characters were allowed to move forward while getting to know one another. It was a win-win situation. My characters were allowed to go for their dreams and my novel was right on track.

I’m taking a break in December and will begin the editing process in January. The editing process is completely new to me but I’m excited to meet it head on and embrace its many challenges. I’m excited to see where my novel and characters will go from here. Maybe my novel will never get published. But that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I wrote a novel from beginning to finish in a month and then I edited it. I got to immerse myself in an entirely new world of my own unique creation.

And that is the point of writing. Writers are not in it to just make money or become famous. They do it because they love it. So, if you enjoy writing, creating new worlds, transforming characters, then this is for you. Writing is a creative hobby. You can’t get rich off it so you need to enjoy it.

www.nanowrimo.org

One Day

Ever since I was a child, the only thing that ever came naturally to me was writing. I can remember sitting at my desk in my childhood bedroom, with a notebook and a pencil, and writing. I wrote about princesses and dreams coming true. I wrote about life, embellished with bits of magic, school, talking animals, whatever flew into my head. In short, it was fun.

I’ve always enjoyed writing. Even now, I still write. Probably not as frequently as I’d like to. But then again, who has time for that?¬† But I try to make time to write, just to get those creative juices flowing. I’m not published yet, but I hope to be one day. I’m hoping that this blog will help me channel my creativity and refine my writing skills. I’m hoping for a lot. But what can I say? I’m a dreamer.

Right now, publication is just a dream. But one day, I will make it happen. One day, I will publish one of my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) novels. One day, one of the ideas I have strewing around in my head will go out into the world, in a bound book with my name on the cover.

All I need is an idea. An idea. How hard can that be?