No No NaNoWriMo?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
There's definitely some benefits to doing NaNoWriMo in November. However, if you couldn't do it this month, don't despair. You can reap the same rewards in March. Or July. It just takes some creativity.

Think of these NaNoWriMo components--and create your own writing challenge:
  • Accountability and Support--Let your writing pals know what you're embarking on (go public with it) and you'll be amazed at the outpouring of love and help you get in return.
This is one page from my 2016 NaNo.
I shared it at a writing retreat a few weeks ago.
Four different writers gave me feedback.
Those purple notes on the margin are going to be gold when it comes time to revise.
  • Networking and Perks--Sure, when doing the official NaNoWriMo, you can network with other NaNo-ers all over the planet. However, if you're doing a DIY NaNo, you can create your own network. I'm working on a historical fiction project centered in the 1920's. A writing friend was at a teachers' convention a couple of weeks ago, and she snagged a free YA novel about the same era--just 'cause she knew it would fuel my fire. And yes, if you do NaNo in November, you can earn all sorts of cute badges and banners. But you can set up your own perks if you do your own version of NaNoWriMo.
When I add 800 more words to my manuscript, I'll treat myself to 1/2 a jar of Nutella.

When I finish this chapter, I'll mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies... and I might even bake some of 'em.

Well, you get the idea...
  • Competition and an Artificial Sense of Urgency--A bit of friendly competition never hurt anybody. Pair up with a writing colleague, and see who can make the most progress in a month. (Remember:  whatever headway you make means you're a winner, writing-wise.) And having a self-imposed deadline looming over your head? When word count is all that matters, you go into "down draft" mode.
What's a "down draft," you ask? These three draft stages come from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird. With the first draft, the ultimate goal is get the story down. Lock that internal editor in a closet. Who cares if your writing is horrid? It's all horrid in the first draft...

The next draft is the "up draft." Now's the time to fix your story up. Look at the down-and-dirty word choices, and revise. If you've got big chunks of telling, transform it into showing. Pretty it up with some rich similes. Fiddle around with the rhythm.

The final one is the "dental draft." Just like your dentist checks every nook and cranny in your mouth to make sure your teeth, fillings and gums are all in perfect shape, you should now be checking the tiny details of your manuscript. Punctuation. Typos. Missing words. Tense changes. Take your time and be thorough.

So, if you didn't take the NaNoWriMo plunge, it's not too late. Pick a month, any month... and dive in.

Sioux Roslawski is a St. Louis dog rescuer with Love a Golden, a grandmother and a writing teacher of middle-schoolers and adults. This month she was a NaNoWriMo loser, getting only an anemic 22,018 words down as of today--far less than the required 50,000 to be considered a NaNo winner... yet she's loving this WIP and will continue to plug away at it. To find out more about Sioux and her writing, please visit her blog.


Anonymous said...

Great read, Sioux. And congrats on being added to the WOW team!


Great read, Sioux. And congrats on being added to the WOW team!

Cathy C. Hall said...

I do get the idea, Sioux, and I like it!

(Especially the chocolate chip cookie dough.)

Margo Dill said...

I agree with this. It is something your writing group could easily do together and I wonder if a summer month would be better anyway--when it stays lighter longer. I wonder if the NaNoWriMo founders picked November because it also starts with an N. Having a major holiday in there and the end of daylight savings time always perplexed me!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Anonymous--Thanks... and thank you. It's a pleasure to work with these ladies.

Jen--Thank you x 2. You've surrounded yourself with wonderful writing friends, so you know this delightful.

Cathy--I think it's being "green" to eat the raw cookie dough. That way, precious energy is not used. ;)

Margo--I know. And November only has 30 days... not 31.

Angela Mackintosh said...

I'm with you, Sioux! DIY NaNo has worked for me in the past. November is just one of the toughest months for me to get anything, this year, I just moved houses and my father-in-law came to live with us, so it's been interesting getting settled and working on a routine that includes daily writing. I did a DIY NaNo in December one month, which is another seemingly terrible month, but I was in Hawaii so no distractions! :)

Marcia Peterson said...

November has always seemed to me like too tricky of a month for a project like Nano. The holiday time at the end of he month spells trouble! So thanks for providing tips for a DIY version for any time of year.

You also reminded me what gold there is in Anne Lamottt's book. I think my teenager has my copy in her room still!

Val said...

Oh, come on now! Your Nutella jar will be half full, not half empty. You are NOT a NaNoWriMo loser, you are 11/25 of a NaNoWriMo winner!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Angela--Hawaii? Why haven't I thought of that place? Perhaps you can begin organizing NaNo trips... "Write at a crazy pace... in paradise."

Marcia--Yes, Lamott's book is a goldmine. And how fortunate you are. Your daughter must be an enlightened, creative teen to enjoy a book on writing.

Val--No, you're wrong, my Nutella jar will be ALL empty.

Mary Horner said...

Love the "downdraft," "updraft" and "dental draft" analogy. I didn't do NaNoWriMo this year, but ate half a jar of Nutella anyway!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Mary--Nutella makes everything better. ;)

Donna Volkenannt said...

Great post, Sioux. I love the three draft stages--down, up, and dental. Wonder if there should be a fourth stage--floss or whiten?

And I don't consider you a NaNo loser. Even though you didn't get to the 50,000 mark, you are almost half way there. Maybe NaNo should come out with a badge something like the symbols half-marathoners put on the back of their cars when they don't quite finish a marathon, but make it half way. It's all good!

Renee Roberson said...

Great post, Sioux! I love the explanation of the different drafts. I've done NaNoWriMo a few different times but get so burned out during the process that I quit working on the piece when I'm done! I decided not to do it this year because I wanted to work on one of my manuscripts at my own pace and November is such a crazy tough month with all the activities our family has going on. I think for me I need to do a NaNoWriMo in the spring sometime, because that's always when I get a burst of creative energy and want to tackle projects. March would probably be perfect for that.

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