October 24, 2010

Lazy Sunday Thoughts: A Novel Experience

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I am the Queen of Procrastination. If you need an excuse not to do something, I can help you with that. NaNoWrMo is coming up next month. What is NaNoWrMo? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, a month to write a whole novel. After contemplating NaNoWrMo for months now and coming up with every excuse in the book (Christmas is coming. I need to shop/bake/clean. Then there are the school concerts and activities...), I took the plunge this morning and signed up. It's official. I am writing a novel.

Let's face it, writing a novel is like deciding to have kids, if you wait for the perfect time you'll never do it. All the planning in the world can never prepare you for the unknowns lurking around the corners. Sometimes you just got to do it and hope for the best. So that is my attitude at this point.

After signing up I received an email from NaNoWrMo that starts off like this:
Well, you did it. You've gone and pledged your November to the pursuit of the month-long novel.
The word pledged is pretty scary. Especially since I have no idea what to write. I have a few thoughts floating around in the ether but nothing has turned into a fully fledged thing you could build a novel upon. But not to worry because apparently that's okay:
It's okay to not know what you're doing. Really.
Good to know because that's where I am right now.

I need your help. Have any of you done this before? Have you been where I am? Where do I begin? What is your best advice?

Oh and be my buddy, please. I'm Chrisbookarama (surprise!)

14 comments :

  1. That is so awesome, Christina! Congratulations for taking the plunge! The fact that you got to the point of actually signing up is amazing and worthy of accolades. Good luck with your novel. I know whatever you do will be amazing!

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  2. I've never done, but I know you can! Good luck!

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  3. It's awesome you are doing this! It's great that NaNoWriMo exists to give people the reason they need to get going. I'm still in procrastination mode and so will just be watching for the third year in a row - but I look forward to seeing all the amazing stuff that comes out!

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  4. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo, but I think it's a very cool event! I'm not really in a position to advise, but I would say just dive in! No one reads what you write unless you want them to, right? So go wild :-) You can do it!! Have fun!

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  5. I signed up some years ago and got nowhere at all, I hadn't planned what to write. I think that's the key, plan what you want to write so you know where you're going with it. That'll help with the extra stress due to the short time period.

    Good luck!

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  6. I'm doing this too...but am unsure how it will go as I'm meant to be finishing my NVQ in November too.

    I've done the last two years. Last year was a monumental failure. I started twice and didn't even hit 1000 words- partly because of other commitments, partly because I was uninspired. The year before I did win but not sure I can give any advice because I was stuck at home with a broken leg and nothing to do at the time.

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  7. I did NaNoWriMo last year for the first time. It was ... an experience. Mostly a good one, and one I would recommend to anyone who wishes to write a novel.

    It's OK that you don't know what to write. When I started, I had just a very basic idea of a story and a few characters (this particular novel idea has been kickin' around in my mind for ... oh, about a decade now). The first day, I wrote 5,000 words was all proud of myself. At the end of November, I wound up with around 18,000 words (or 60 pages).

    I'm very much of an edit-as-you-go type of writer, not a throw-anything-on-the-page-and-you-can-revise-it-a-month-from now kind of gal. The non-editing was killing me.

    But ... I am glad I did it, and I'll be doing a version of NaNo this year (working on the same novel).

    You can feel free to check out the NaNoWriMo posts on my blog from last year.

    Good luck!

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  8. Michelle- Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    Kathy- Thanks.

    Lyndsey- I've watched from the sidelines for years now. I figure it's time to give it a shot!

    Erin- That's a good way to look at it. :)

    Charlie- Thanks. I'm working on an idea now.

    Lucy- So I guess I need to break a leg. ;)

    Melissa- I'm afraid I'm an edit as you go person too. It will be a challenge trying to curb that impulse. 50000 is a daunting number as well.

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  9. Last year was my first NaNo experience - I made it to 18,000 words and gave up halfway through the month, mostly because I had no idea where my novel was going. I am going to attempt it again this year, and am hoping that since I have a pretty fleshed out storyline in my head, that it will come easier. We'll see! I added you as a writing buddy - good luck! We can commiserate together.

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  10. Yay! So glad you're signing up! I love NaNoWriMo for the community spirit. I'm always on the revising/re-writing/editing stage during November but I love the community spirit! Can't wait to read your progress updates and find out what your novel is about!

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  11. I've done it for several years now and the highest I got was 28,000 words. The best things you can do are plan ahead (outline, etc) and turn OFF the internal editior. That's the one thing I can never seem to do! There always comes a point where I look back and what I've written and start editing. It prevents the forward movement, ya know? Good luck, it is definitely a lot of fun!

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  12. I've never done NaNoWriMo, but I think your comparison to kids and just having to do it is a good one. I think it's good to take the plunge and just go for it - good luck!

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  13. I procrastinated for several years before taking the plunge and then finished books in both 2005 and 2006. In 2007, I had to go take care of my mother and was forced to quit, when I was going great guns. In 2008, I was mourning. In 2009, I fell on my face. I'm signed up and ready for 2010. Unlike Charlie, I'm not a planner. I've tried preparing or outlining and found that I write best by just sitting down and letting myself go. So, it might take a while to figure out which way suits you, but go with whatever works.

    BTW, just added you as a friend. I'm nancytoes at NaNoWriMo.

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  14. First off, I'm so happy you signed up!! I saw the add the other day and added you back. :) We can help support each other!

    Second, YOU CAN DO IT!!!!! :D Just my mini-pep talk there. :D I don't really have a lot of suggestions. I personally find lots of outlines and prepping to be helpful, but that varies from person to person. My only real advice is that if you have a NaNo community around you in your area, please do to the events. Sometimes it's really hard for us when we're shy to go out and meet people, but meeting other writers helps SO MUCH with enthusiasm, inspiration, and motivation.

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