Monday, October 28, 2019

Is ANYONE ready for NANOWRIMO? Because I'm not.

                         vintage teal typewriter beside book
Nanowrimo. November. The month of 50,000 words. Or maybe 8 words (*counts on fingers* It. was. a. dark. and. stormy. night. Yep, that's 8.) OR MAYBE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND WORDS. Or maybe 20,000 words. Maybe 2,000. We're going to just do our best okay?

Today I'm going to give you a gift. I'm going to give you the gift of the Super-Top-Secret-Making-This-Up-As-I-Go-Along-Nanowrimo-Success-Checklist.


  • Step One: Throw Away Your Writing Standards. Seriously. Toss them right now. Unless you're some sort of super-human, you are NOT going to write a complete, polished, plot-hole free novel in one month. You are not. The point of Nanowrimo is not to write a book that's ready to publish by December. The point of Nanowrimo is to write a Rough Draft. Emphasis on Rough. And to connect with other writers while you're at it. 
  • Step Two: Connect with other writers while you're at it. Nanowrimo connects authors and aspiring authors together in a community of support, ideas, and general shenanigans. The community has always been the reason I do Nanowrimo. There are coffee shop write-ins, virtual write-ins, library write-ins, and unofficial Abby's-living-room write-ins all month long. There are chat rooms and prompts and pep talks and sprints all available on The Official Website. Lots of stuff to help you through. Also you should join my Super Top Secret and Exclusive Facebook Group.
  • Step Three: Speaking of the Nanowrimo official website, use the official website. Update your wordcount, and watch your numbers climb on an automatically-generated graph. Let the website's algorithms let you know how you're doing. If you're ahead. If you're behind. How much you need to write any given day in order to finish on time. Oh and you can earn badges. It's brilliant. 
  • Step Four: Purchase Swag. This step is not entirely necessary, but there's nothing like a shirt that says "I survived Nanowrimo 2019" to motivate you to survive Nanowrimo 2019. 
  • Step Five: Either outline beforehand (you have less than a week left! *screaming*) or don't make yourself write the story in chronological order. This year will be the first that I attempt to work from a chronological outline. In the past I've found that the only way I can maintain pace is to write scenes as the ideas hit me, whether or not they're in order. I've spent many a December cutting and pasting and putting my chapters in order. Pro Tip: Do Not, I Repeat, Do Not attempt to number your chapters. You will invariably add one later and then have to renumber everything and it's............just don't do it, okay?
  • Step Six: Give yourself a big coffee budget. 
  • Step Seven: Hide your cell phone. No Distractions!!!
  • Step Eight: Tie your husband/significant other/cat up, and put him in the closet. No Distractions!!!
  • Step Nine: Alternatively remind your husband that the new Skyrim game is coming out on the 11th. "Absolutely babe, whatever you want, I just want You to be happy. Yeah can you just wear your headphones, and not yell too loud, thanks."
  • Step Ten: Write every day. Even if it's just a little bit, make it a habit. You only have to do 1,667 words a day. They don't have to be good words. They don't have to be punctuated or spelled right or even entirely story. As long as you sit down and write, it can be a tirade about how you can't think of anything to write and everything you hate about your main character, and you Will Still Get Somewhere. A lot of writing, so I hear, is teasing out your thoughts and your imaginations and tackling the questions that knock about in your head. Nanowrimo is about putting all that nonsense on paper so you can See it and start to make something of it. 
  • Step Eleven: Find some good writing music. I learn toward slow, nostalgic stuff like Sky Sailing, Fleurie, Handsome Ghost, and unnoffical playlists of every song on all eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries. Alternatively, find some good white noise. I recommend Rainy Cafe, which has rainstorm noises and cafe noises that you can adjust and mix together in whatever volume combination you like. I usually do Rain: 100%, Cafe: 50%, but you do you. 
  • Step Twelve: Read. It might sound counter-intuitive to read when you're supposed to be writing, but reading books and writing books go hand in hand, and it's a much better place to go looking for story inspiration during Nanowrimo then Netflix or Hulu. My Nanowrimo Reading list? So glad you asked. 
                                          Paperback The Night Circus Book

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was originally a Nano novel, so I thought it'd be a perfect fit for this month. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell is about an internet-famous fan-fiction author. So, perfect. 

                                          Call Down the Hawk (Dreamer, #1)

And Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater, a spin-off of the Raven Boys Cycle, is about a boy who can pull things from his dreams and make them concrete, which is basically what writing is all about, right? I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I am for this November 5th release!!!

                                           Fawkes: A Novel

Speaking of November 5th, November 5th is the English holiday, Guy Fawkes Day, in case you were a plebeian/peasant/American and didn't know.  In celebration I will be reading Fawkes by Nadine Brandes, burning a very small effigy of Guy Fawkes on my landlord's grill, and, naturally, writing a blog about it for your general enjoyment. You're welcome. 

And finally, I'll need to make time for the Booksplosion Book Club book of the month: 

Cursed by Frank Miller is a feminist twist on the Arthurian legends in the vein of "What if the Lady of the Lake drew Excalibur from the stone? It's also got illustrations, and it's going to be a Netflix series starring Katherine Langford, so that's exciting. 

And wow. I should really quit before this post devolves into a 200-item-long books-I-really-wanna-read-right-now list.

Are you doing Nano this year? Can I talk you into attempting Nano this year? Join my Facebook Group. Leave a Comment! Talk to you soon!

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