The draft of BGDD2 is due to my editor at the end of this week. But, uh… we won’t think about that right now.

What a lot of people are thinking about is NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Basically, the idea is that you spend the month of November writing a 50,000 word novel–or 50,000 words of a longer novel (since 50k is pretty short for any category except YA).

I have never gotten very far in NaNo. For the past few years, what with revisions to BGDD and dog shows galore, November has been packed with activities that would make such a rigorous writing schedule impossible.

For those of you who are participating, please heed this advice:

(1) Wear reading glasses and take frequent breaks from staring at your computer (and no, switching to Twitter or Facebook from MS Word doesn’t count as a break).
(2) Don’t be too hard on yourself.
(3) Don’t assume that by the end of the month you will have a draft that is ready to send to an agent. You will probably have to revise your NaNo. But that’s okay. Everybody revises.
(4) If you do get started and find you can’t finish, or fall way behind on your wordcount, don’t just give up your novel altogether. NaNoWriMo is fun, what with all the zeitgeist and such, but it should be a launching point. Meeting NaNo’s wordcount should not be your ultimate goal; finishing a draft of a novel should be your ultimate goal. So if you have to slow down and finish your draft by, say, March instead of December 1, I say go for it. Don’t just give up forever.

On the other hand, if you are not doing NaNo, like me, how about treat November as Reverse NaNoWriMo? Every day, try doing, making, eating, or learning something new! Enrich yourself so that when you DO feel motivated to sit down and write your novel, you have lots of interesting new stuff to draw from. (Writing is allowed, too… in moderation.)

Be sure to tweet about your adventures and label with #reversenanowrimo … so I can see what you’re up to!

My Reverse NaNo deed for the day? Starting a vermicompost bin. See, I had this Rubbermaid tub full of soil that, with neglect, had turned into rich, crumbling, beautiful soil with worms in it. So I figured, if I did it on accident, I can probably keep it up on purpose. I went digging for worms near the drainage ditch at the end of my street (the glamour continues…) and put them in with the old-timers. Cross your fingers!

Tomorrow’s activity? (Spoiler alert!) –Going back to WORK. Argh. It’s not that I don’t love my work and the people I get to see when I’m there, but still… argh!

Happy November!

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6 thoughts on “No NaNo This Anno.

  • November 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm
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    50,000 words it means 170 pages…its too longer for me…. i can’t write…. but i love to read…and of course i read it.

  • November 1, 2009 at 11:37 pm
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    I finished (won?) NaNoWriMo last year and I can attest to the fact that it is brutal. It unfolds just as Chris Baty describes in his book. Things perk along pretty dang good and then about the end of week two they start to fall apart. After week two, you experience a rally and, at least for me, the last two days were a killer.

    I decided not to do it this year and instead will start my re-write.

    Important lesson learned? That you can sit down and crank out 1612 words every day. There were nights I checked my word counter every 50 words, subtracted from the total needed, and prayed for the night to end.

    And I loved the times when I was so tired that I forgot my characters names and would write stuff like, “Blah blah (always double it ’cause it adds to the word count) stepped out of the house and encountered blah, blah, blah, her best friend….Eeeeeeeek!

    Looking forward to your new book!! Congratulations…

  • November 2, 2009 at 7:19 am
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    Let me know how the worms go! That’s been on my to-do list for a while now. I’m thinking I’ll give it a go in the spring.

    • November 2, 2009 at 7:41 am
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      hsl, thanks for coming by! That is a lot to write, especially in a month.

      Adrienne, ha ha! I remember on the NaNo forums, people would post ideas to boost word counts. So funny. I know a little about the brutality of the schedule, because book 2 has been close to that much writing. I am just not cut out to write so quickly.

      Christy, will do. Watch, I won\’t be able to do it. That\’s how absolutely everything gardening-related works with me. The second I try, I kill everything.

  • November 2, 2009 at 8:21 am
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    I believe NaNoWriMo was created in the depths of Hades itself in order to distract and disrupt any kind of progress being made by today’s aspiring authors. There always seems to be a new contest here, and another over there, and, oops, now it’s NaNoWriMo. LEAVE ME ALONE, I’m trying to finish my first dang manuscript already!!!!!!!!!!

    I suppose I’ve just got to keep the old blinders on, that’s all. Forgive my rant. :D

  • November 2, 2009 at 8:25 am
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    Totally right, Jason! Just keep working. Slow and steady wins the race!

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