"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Guest Post By Poet and Writer, Yasmin Morais


Writing a Novel in 30 Days: Reflections of a Newbie Wrimo



As many of you are aware, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and The Office of Lights and Letters (OLL) has been hosting this popular challenge since 1999.

For the “uninitiated,” here are some interesting NaNoWriMo facts and stats: http://www.nanowrimo.org/about/facts-and-stats/.

This year, I participated for the first time, and though it was grueling (30 days, 50,000 words, 0 excuses, according to OLL), it turned out to be a really fun experience, that enabled me to grow as a budding writer.

I’ve always wanted to write a novel, but procrastination has been winning. Taking the NaNoWriMo challenge forced me to carve out some writing time, so on November 1st, I took the plunge. 50,000 words seemed daunting at first, but aiming for the recommended 1,667 words per day helped a newbie Wrimo like me to press on.

The structure was a definite plus.

My motivation? I told myself that I couldn’t and wouldn’t quit (after all, I had already blabbed about it on Pen and Prosper, Twitter and my blog). Blabbing keeps you accountable. :-)

The camaraderie and encouragement from other Wrimos in my region, truly helped me to press on. Sometimes, I wrote well into the early morning hours, going well beyond the targeted word count.
Though I wanted to, I didn’t make it to any of the write-ins, mainly because of scheduling and in some cases, distance.

But I soldiered on with the help of countless cups of tea, soothing music and encouraging emails from previous Wrimos who are now successful writers.

On November 25th, with my manuscript validated, it was a proud moment for me to receive my congratulatory email, certificate and web badge. NaNoWriMo was an intense process which demanded a lot of time management and perseverance.

I discovered that I actually write better when I have deadlines. I would recommend the NaNoWriMo challenge, writers. And I just might try it next year.

Push yourself to new limits to reach greater heights. It’s a philosophy worth embracing for 2013.

Your turn.
Have you ever participated? Has it helped you to become more serious about your writing goals?
What’s your experience been with NaNoWriMo or other kamikaze type writing challenges?
Do tell.

13 comments:

  1. Congratulations. Such discipline! I intended to do NaNoWriMo but being a nana got in the way. However, it did force me to take a closer look at a shelved oncomplete memoir about my days in Alaska. I was able to write about three colorful charcaters. Memories are flooding back and I am having fun.

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 30, 2012 at 4:25 AM

      Linda,

      That's the spirit; writing should be fun! Thanks for starting us off by weighing in here. Have a great weekend. :-)

      Delete
    2. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 30, 2012 at 4:28 AM

      P.S.,

      I too applaud Yasmin; this was quite an accomplishment indeed. :-)

      Delete
  2. I love that, "Blabbing keeps you accountable." So true! :) Congrats on your success, Yasmin! I haven't ever tackled NaNo, but would like to one of these years.

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 30, 2012 at 7:12 AM

      Karen,

      Thanks for your thoughts. In the words of the Nike Commercial: "Just do it!" LOL

      We'll be rootin' for ya'.

      Delete
  3. Thanks Linda, Jen and Karen. Linda and Karen, you could think about trying next year, and if I decide to take on next year's NaNo, we could probably team up together :)

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksNovember 30, 2012 at 7:14 AM

      Yasmin,

      I'd bet my money on that team to win! :-)

      Delete
  4. That's a lot of discipline,

    I once made some serious preparations for writing a Novel during a vacation. For it I made lot's of notes and decided that writing a 'Complete' is to much of a Long term project, and is currently not really my thing, although once in a while I do write ideas for making possible 'Partials'. So I might pick it up in the future.

    Than possibly create some sort of concept of - Format - that I can use to 'draw' multiple books from. (and possibly for it assemble a team of writers.)

    In an interview I read that Bestseller writer Dan Brown got part of his inspiration to actually become a writer when he read a Sidney Sheldon Book on a tropical beach when he thought: 'I can do that too' I actually wrote a post about it on my Travel Blog. (You can find it by clicking the 'Get your Novel Started' in the Keyword Clowd on the Travel Blog.)

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    1. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 1, 2012 at 3:49 AM

      H.P.,

      I like your idea of "possible partials". It's a great creative approach. Thanks for adding to the mix here.

      Delete
    2. Jennifer Brown BanksDecember 1, 2012 at 4:25 AM

      H.P.,

      B/T/W/--You mention "assembling a team of writers".
      Do you hire other writers for some of your projects?

      Delete
  5. Currently I don't work on such a project, only since writing a whole Novel on my own looks like such a big project, (and I imagine that it probably will feel somewhat like an 'Impossible Dream' for a lot of other aspiring writers also) that I have been brainstorming about a possible other approach....,

    Somewhat similar as with how Sitcom Writer's collaborate
    with having descriptions of the characters, locations and
    storylines and use that as a guideline for producing multiple episodes.

    I have been tinking along the lines of creating something like a special blog for possibly creating something like a - Collaborative Novel - in a somewhat similar way where commenters can help by commenting & contributing to the Story Line(s).

    Where the contributers themselves can get credits, and that way also automatically creating a surefire Fan Base that also might have an interest in being like 'Ambassadors' for promoting it. Like one big Win/Win situation,

    Only I am still not entirely sure how I could organise something like that in a practical way. Also currently I don't even get any comments on any of my (Rock Star Writer) - Short Stories - in developement yet.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for elaborating; keep us posted with your progress.

      Delete
  6. HP,

    Thanks. Interesting point about Dan Brown. Inspiration comes in many ways.

    ReplyDelete