NaNo Anyone?

Saturday, October 28, 2017
NaNoWriMo begins in a few days (on Wednesday). I was terrified until yesterday afternoon.

I had no idea what I was going to write about. I was so unprepared, I started googling "YA novel plot ideas."

Last year I knew way before November rolled around what I was going to work on for NaNoWriMo. I'd gotten some research done, had chosen characters' names (which later got changed) so I was rarin' to go on November 1.

This year I worry because my students will have 45 minutes each day to work on their NaNo. I'll have an hour and  a half every day to work on mine. I would prefer writing during the classes, instead of acting like a police officer during each session. These are some of the things I've learned from doing NaNoWriMo:

  • Size does matter. To " win" at NaNoWriMo means you've gotten 50,000 words down on paper. Last year, I wrote a historical manuscript for middle grades, which meant I didn't get close to that many words.
           I got to 25,000.

           Did I "win" at it? No. However, if I hadn't done NaNoWriMo, I wouldn't even have 25,000 words down. (I gotta look on the bright side, right?)
  • Give the stink-eye to your internal editor.  To keep the words flowing, you can't stop and look over your work. You can't revise as you write--or at least most people can't. You have to write at such a frenetic pace that all the critics inside your head need to be silenced.
          During the month of November, just write, You can revise in January.
  • Let yourself loose.  Most likely your piece will evolve as the month marches along. You might have a neat outline created or you may know exactly how your book will end. However, as you write, things change. The characters--if they're well fleshed-out--will drive the story and cause it to unfold with twists and turns. Don't be afraid to be flexible and surprised.
  • Use your time in creative ways.  Because the word count goal is brutal every day, you need to make the most of your time. If you have 5 minutes before you have to leave for work, write for that short increment of time. See how many words you can get down in short spurts.
  • Use it as an excuse (if you want to). If you want to get out of having to make Thanksgiving dinner, use NaNo as an excuse.
          "Oh, I have to write more than 1,600 words every day. I won't have time this year to prepare the holiday meal. Could someone else host the get-together this year?"

             How about you--are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you going to write about? If you're not, could you share why? (Unless I change my mind, I'm going to work on another MG historical novel, this one set in 1955...)

Sioux is looking forward to the first day of November. When she's not planning her NaNoWriMo, she's teaching middle-schoolers or rescuing dogs. If you'd like to read more of her stuff, go to 


Margo Dill said...

I am so unsuccessful at NANO Wri Mo! But I am in awe of everyone who does it, even half way!

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Once again we are thinking similar things. I'm not doing NaNoWriMo but I am taking part in a writing challenge. And it is all in my blog post for tomorrow!

Angela Mackintosh said...

I applaud you for doing NaNo, Sioux! Those are excellent tips. I'm not doing NaNo because I'm focusing on nonfiction, but I'm excited for you and can't wait to hear how you progress during the month. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--I have a feeling I won't make the same progress this year as I did last year, but you never know. I remain (a bit) hopeful.

Sue--I look forward to hearing about it.

Angela--You could always still do NaNo--and be a rogue NaNo-er. Thanks for the encouragement. I can't wait to see how far I can progress, too. ;)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Though I'm not doing NaNo this year, I have participated two or three times in the past, and your tips are spot on.

I'm not doing NaNo because I completed a full length novel earlier in the year (COLD CASE MEDIUM: ICE COLD MURDER) and am putting the finishing touches on a novella, THE WRITE MAN, releasing on December 8th as part of Roxanne St. Claire's release team for her Barefoot Bay Kindle World. November and December are "take a break" time for me. I won't be writing anything new. I think if I told my hub I was doing NaNo he'd run screaming from the house. lol

Renee Roberson said...

NaNo is the only way I've completed any full-length pieces of fiction (two 50,000-word young adult novels and one middle grade at 20,000 words), so if it works for you (and I consider 25,000 words of a children's novel successful) go for it! Now if only there could be some sort of challenge to get us to actually submit . . .

Mary Horner said...

I've completed NaNoWriMo once, and it was tough. This year I'm doing some short bursts, but I'm hoping next year will work for me. I love the idea of using this to get out of hosting Thanksgiving, but I'm afraid I would then be forced to host Christmas! I guess I need a new writing competition in December, as well!

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