This week: NaNoWriMo Edited by: Jeff
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"What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out."
-- Alfred Hitchcock
Trivia of the Week: Did you know the "NaNoWriMo Write-A-Thon" isn't just for writing novels? It's primarily focused on getting words written (in whatever form you want to write them). Check it out if you'd like some help with your writing motivation for the month of November!
We're on the eve of another November, which means a whole lot of us are about to embark upon another National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those of you who aren't familiar, the original challenge was to write a 50,000-word novel during the 30 calendar days of November. That works out to an average of 1,667 words per day, and is meant as a motivational activity to get writers to actually put words on the page. A number of bestselling books have started out as NaNoWriMo projects, including The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and Wool by Hugh Howey.
Over the years, my thoughts on NaNoWriMo have evolved a bit. As someone who wants to write novels by often finds it difficult to actually do the work, I initially approached the November challenge as a time during which I could really buckle down and do what the challenge was designed to do, which was get me to write a novel.
That has met with varying degrees of success over the years. Some years I wrote my 50,000 words. Other years, for varying reasons, I fell short. Some of those failures were no doubt accountable to my own procrastination and lack of preparation, but there were definitely a handful of years where November ended up just being a not very productive month, whether it was due to real-life job stresses, family issues, etc.
At one point, I changed my NaNo focus from "novels" to "any larger work." I always have ideas for nonfiction books, essay collections, story anthologies, etc. rattling around in my head so I told myself that as long as it's intended to be a consistent, cohesive work, there's nothing wrong with that.
That's naturally led me to where I am currently with my thoughts on NaNoWriMo, which is that it's actually not about the form of the work at all, but rather it's just about putting in the work on whatever's important to you. If that's standalone short stories? Fine. Blogging? Alrighty. Poetry? I mean, it's going to be hard (and pretty dang impressive if you can write 50,000 words in poetic form in a month), but sure! What you write is far less important in November than simply that you write.
Ultimately, this isn't so different from the advice I give most writers when it comes to considering whether or not a particular activity, suggestion, piece of advice, etc. It's important to go into it with an open mind and willing to give it an honest try, but you also have to be willing to throw out the parts (or even the whole thing) if it doesn't work for you.
This year will be my 12th time attempting NaNoWriMo and I'm going into it intending to continue what I started back in September, which is getting back on the writing horse, so to speak. I've been out of practice for a long time and the last couple of months of writing and entering contests here have really helped me shake the rust off and get back to the writing, which I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy.
I'll be spending NaNoWriMo writing a whole bunch of different things. Plugging away on a nonfiction book, working on an outline for a couple new scripts and novels I'll want to work on soon, and continuing to enter a handful of short story and poetry contests around the site.
What are you going to work on this month?
Until next time,
If you're interested in checking out my work:
"New & Noteworthy Things"
This month's official Writing.com writing contest is:
I also encourage you to check out the following items:
EXCERPT: I hear the words, but my brain seems unable to process them. It’s like a scene from The Matrix where the doctor says, “Positive for BRCA1,” but the words stick mid-flow between his mouth and my brain.
The room around me blurs, and it takes a beat for me to realise it’s because I am crying. My husband’s hand squeezes mine, bringing me back to the moment.
“It’s a lot to take in; I know,” the doctor says with a sympathetic smile.
EXCERPT: One spooky Halloween night, it was the night of the Halloween dance at Broxton High school Tim was going as his favorite super hero superman and, his current girlfriend Lilly was going as her favorite super villain Harley Quinn a very popular choice for girls world wide. Tim was supposed to pick her up and drive her to the dance, but his car broke down at his friends house and he ended up having to walk 5 miles to the dance, he was about 30 minutes late, but he expected Lilly to be there waiting for him.
EXCERPT: “I’m tired of hearing about some goody, goody who seems to be able to do no wrong. Emily’s a stupid little twit who hasn’t a clue what the world is like. You’d think this friend of hers walks on water,” Darla said giving a sniff of derision.
Ryan looked over at Emily, who was sitting at a table nearby with a few of her friends. He could still hear her chatting on about her friend. Apparently they had gotten into the College of Art in Toronto. They were going to the big city. They were going to have an adventure. Darla’s voice flared up again drowning out Emily’s joy.
“You’d think only they could go to the Big City. You’d think only they could get into some prestigious art college. Who cares?”
EXCERPT: So to start I guess I should tell you my name since this story is about me. Allyssa. 7 years old. And I died today.
EXCERPT: The job was assigned to Mitch in the usual way, but the bounty was fat. Real fat. Two-million-dollars fat. Someone out there wanted this target neutralized badly and was willing to pay the price.
The decrypted message in his in-box had a short life span: thirty seconds. Then it would encrypt itself again. After that, even a God with a quantum computer wouldn’t be able to read it.
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Feedback from "Drama Newsletter (September 30, 2020)" about the writing habit:
brom21 writes: "I just got eye surgery so I have spent a while away from my writing passion for weeks. A few days ago I spent two-and-a-half hours writing-or more like editing. It felt so wonderful. Before my surgery, I was writing 6+ hours a day writing. Now I am gradually working my way up to my former regimen. This NL really correlated with my situation. Thanks a lot!"
I'm recently coming off a long writing hiatus myself. It's so easy to forget how great it feels to get some writing done when you're not doing it!
Quick-Quill writes: "Thank you for this NL I needed a kick in the pants to get writing again."
Glad it helped motivate you!
Patrece ~ writes: "I was so surprised to see mention of my short story 'And the Heavens Weep' in your newsletter. Thank you, so much! I'm honored that you found it worthy of inclusion."
You're very welcome!
Annette writes: "That was a good pep talk. I definitely need to get into writing habits. As of now, I mostly have a lot of very effective procrastination habits. Those, I keep up with very accurately."
Oh, my procrastination habits are world-class, for sure.
Odessa Molinari writes: "If I'm awake, I'm writing. I start with a daily contest. If none of the prompts interest me, then I'll write a review or two. Once I'm in writing mode, then I move on to longer projects. But I'm always writing something."
This sounds like a great way to get into the writing mindset every day!
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