NaNo NaNo: One Woot Writer Attempts NaNoWriMo

by Randall Cleveland

If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month: a 30-day challenge to writers everywhere to pound out one (1) novel of 50,000 words or more by the end of November. If you follow any blogger or writer types on Twitter, Facebook, or the like October is a time full of lamentations about the upcoming grind, how horrific it's going to be, and the excitement of taking on the challenge. It's not unlike running a marathon, except you sit for pretty much all of it.

I'd heard of the idea a few years ago but never gave it much thought until two weeks ago, when seeing the annual slew of tweets got me thinking about it. "I've got one or two solid ideas," I thought, "and I'm only putting them off. Maybe committing to this thing will give me the kick in the pants I need to get to writing." It's a well-known fact among professional writers that 99% of our job consists of convincing ourselves to write. Distractions abound, an idea can always use more mulling over and refining, and of course there are video games to play. "Screw it," I said to myself because I am a pathetic, friendless person, "I'm going to write a novel..."


writing in the journal
"And for ONCE it's not going to be erotic Buzz Aldrin/Neil Armstrong slashfic."


Apparently there is a large, vibrant community in and around NaNoWriMo, but I will never know because half the features of their site don't work for me. They keep asking me to log in when I already am, and the stuff that IS there is pretty uninteresting or obtuse, so screw it. I did get a mass invite to a brainstorming session at a Denny's, so that's something, but I've found that terrible coffee and greasy fried food tend to make me want to kill myself rather than be creative, so I abstained.


Author Charles McCain at work on An Hon German  March 2007
Like a Denny's could be more fun than this, anyway.

I need to write 1,700 words (give or take) a day, starting today, to meet the 50,000 word count goal. I initially thought this would be no big deal. Between product descriptions, Woot blogs, my own blog, and various other stand-up routines or scripts I tinker with I put out at LEAST that much daily. What I forgot to consider was that my novel would not replace those things, it would be in addition to them. So already I'm not optimistic. But tonight I will be sallying forth to my laptop and putting my fingers to keys and ideas to digital ink. I've decided to write out an idea I've had for awhile about a zombie apocalypse book, because the world needs more crap like that right now, and I thought it might be an easy genre to start in. My wife was quick to point out "it's not the quality of your words, it's the quantity." Story of my life.

Are you writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month? Got any tips for a novel-writing noob? Feel free to post your tips, commiseration, encouragement, or scathing criticism as I periodically update my progress here on the Woot Blog.




Flickr photos (in order):

used under a Creative Commons License.