NaNo... Why Mo?

The day dawned bright, clear, and cold as we, intrepid writers, began the second long week of the National Novel Month challenge to write an entire novel (or at least, 50,000 words) within the minute span of thirty days... and our word-count-fudging/abuse/violations-of-all-writing-decency has spilled over into other areas of life.  Like this blog.

53 words.  Booyah!  


Alright, it's day 9.  

I'm hoping to be at the other end of 25K by the time the write-in is finished this evening.  That's just over 5K, hopefully within the three and a half hours I have at Mad City Coffee.  This may be a record pace.

Caffeine is on my side.

So why would I do this to myself?

Last year, I wanted to do NaNo to prove I could do it.  The NaNovel also became something of an escape for me while I muddled through the realities of Life.  By the end, I was done. I wrote the ending, closed the document, and have not opened it since.

This year, I dove into NaNoWriMo with entirely different reasons for doing so.
  1. I needed to churn out an outline and draft for my story.  This novel has been banging around in my head for a few months now.  Don't worry, there's space and the walls are padded.  But still, while I pushed through my crazy-disorganized-other-novel, I was trying to not let this one die.  I patted the idea on the head, watered it from time to time, and promised that in November I would give it room to grow.
  2. I wanted to recover discipline in my writing.  In August and September, I was not writing every day.  Now (even on the red and yellow days) I'm still writing.  Ok, I'm working on other things besides NaNo.  Don't judge.  Keep reading the blog. (389 words)
  3. I learn a lot through NaNo.  The organizers of NaNo provide a lot of great tools to encourage you through the writing process.  These include peptalks from writers like Neil Gaiman, Aimee BenderKatherine Paterson, and Piers Anthony.  And this is just a few.  Many are archived here, and you can read them too!
  4. NaNoWriMo is fun.  That doesn't mean it's easy, painless, comfortable or fail-proof.  But the writing I'm doing now is fun.  I'm flying through pages, working my way through the outline (sorta), and churning out a few hundred words at a time is enjoyable.
  5. NaNoWriMo is social.  Writing is a solitary activity.  The write-ins focus on writing; however, they also give me a chance to meet new people - 175,000+ are participating around the world.  Even if we're that creepy-looking bunch hunched over laptops, not talking, in the corner of your favorite coffee spot.  I'm also following blogs/tweets from other Maryland NaNoers - not always about NaNo - and that's made the process more fun and social too.  I hope to keep many of these acquaintances post-November.
  6. NaNoWriMo is about proving I can do it.  I can churn out 50K in a draft so rough that it should come with a child safety warning.  This year, I have a feeling the final number will be higher.  The goal this year is to finish the story, no matter where that takes me.
How's it going?  Well, I'm still chugging along through the story, despite a few days of light or no writing (check the calendar in the side bar.  Those days in red shame me).  And I'm still interested in the story, particularly since I've long accepted that I'm writing long swaths of words that have no place in the story.  I write them anyway.

I've reached the middle, so I'm not entirely sure if the smooth sailing will continue.  But that's what the outline is for.

And a note on the outline...

This is the most detailed outline I've done for a work - chapters, scenes, etc.  The idea was to always know what I was going to write.  This has not always worked out.  Take the scene where my MC and her so-far-entirely-unlikeable-husband have an argument.  In my outline, they fight, he feels bad over what he says and tries to get over the problem, but ultimately fails.  In reality, it went something like this:

Kat (MC), shocked: “That’s crazy!”
Jason, still angry: “Is it?  Do you know for sure?”
ME: Good!  Good anger.  You've both crossed the line, though.  J, this is where you get likable so she has a reason to call you later.
K: “How can you even think that?”
J: “It’s your fault I have to.” He capped the bottle and set it on the island. “I can’t deal with this right now.  I’m going out.”
ME: Ok, now you.. wait... you're doing what?
K: “Jason, please—“
ME: Really, MC?  That's the best you can do?
J: “Just… don’t talk to me.  Don’t.” 
ME: And you.. you're being a douche. You just blamed your wife for your inability to have a child. Stop.
K: “Where are you going?”
J: “To a friend’s."
ME: WTF?  What friend?! 
J (talking over Mo): "I need some time to think about this.”  He turned his back on her and walked away, leaving his brief case on the floor.  
ME:  Really?  And what are you doing with a briefcase anyway?  Hey.  This is where you come back.  This chapter is only three pages long, it can't end here!  Come on...
K: A moment later she heard the front door of the apartment shut.  Silence closed in on all sides as she gave up trying not to cry.
ME: Stop that, there's no crying in NaNo! ...fine.  Have a Kleenex.

Hey.  I said it was a rough draft.  Don't blame me if your retinas are bleeding.

I'm armed with some tips on how to fuel through the next week of NaNo.  Hopefully everything will get better for my MC (ha.. haha... no.) and this story will get finished!

Thanks for reading!  Leave one in the comments section.

...1000 words!


  1. You know, until your posts, I had never heard of National Novel Month. I wasn't even sure what you were talking about earlier. But I kept reading.

    OK, so I live in isolation pretty much!

    Interesting idea. Eager to see how it turns out.

  2. Hello! I have a blogging award for you over on my blog.
    One Writer's Mind

  3. @ RK -- lol, I'll let you know. Hopefully this novel will make it through edits into something meant for human consumption!

    @ BE -- I saw, thank you! :D I will have to consider how to pass the torch.