(Inter?)National Novel Writing Month 2017


#1

We are on the cusp of November. Is anyone else planning to attempt NaNoWriMo1 2?


Footnotes:

1 I see that the website is all shiny and new compared to when I last visited it [i.e., horrifyingly many years go]; they appear to have tried to implement some automated gamification, though the word counter still requires manual updating. I was actually lightly thinking of creating some kind of a tool… but the only language I’m comfortable with currently is Python, and quite shallow, basic Python at that. Chances are, someone out there has made something anyway.
2 It’s basically, write a 50k-word-long novel within the month of November. For any current students – I’m told that’s approximately equivalent to 200 double-spaced pages in Word.


#2

Personally, I:

  1. Have never finished writing any piece of fiction longer than maybe 1.5k;
  2. Have never finished writing any piece of writing, regardless of genre, longer than the neighborhood of 10k (my Master’s thesis);
  3. Have not finished writing any piece of fiction, regardless of length, since… May 2013 (thanks, AO3!);
  4. Tend to become paralyzed with self-hatred approximately two seconds after getting interested in a writing idea;
  5. Tend to get home after work with approximately zero mental energy and no desire to do anything more complicated than “play a familiar video game”.

Nevertheless, I am giving myself a strict antipep talk and giving it a try this year. The main points are as follows:

  1. My goal is not to write well.
  2. My goal is not to create believable characters.
  3. My goal is not to tell a compelling story.
  4. My goal is not to build an interesting world.
  5. My goal is not to explore meaningful themes.
  6. My goal is not to craft beautiful prose.
  7. My goal is not to depict character development.
  8. My goal is not to create something that I would be proud of, interested in, or even satisfied with.
  9. My goal is to write 50,000 words which, by the most generous definition of “story” in the multiverse, a fair-minded observer might reluctantly admit is technically a story, more or less.

To this end, my plan is to allocate two hours a weekday – the time between 8pm and 10pm – to writing at least 1,667 words. At one point this was the time I allocated to bopping around in GW2, although recently I’ve moved away from that simply because it’s a bit alienating to not own the expansion when everyone else does.

On weekends, I intend to allocate those two hours and any extra necessary for catching-up. For the duration of November, it will replace my extremely slow-and-unsteady sewing project (unless I somehow get way ahead of schedule or something) – it’s all hand-sewing without a pattern, and so far it’s proceeding much faster than my half-decade scarf, anyway.

I will probably write in Notepad or Notepad++ or something, and get the wordcounts externally – whatever best minimizes the feeling of “oh god a blank page that I am personally responsible for and utterly incapable of filling”.

If you are planning to participate, or interested in participating, I would be quite pleased to hear from you, a fellow-traveller on this road.


#3

This describes me far too well. Every time I come up with an idea to for really anything that I want to do, I get anxious and toss it out almost instantly. This extends to video game creation, art, writing, etc… I wish there was an easy way to get past that anxiety of creation, something that would just push those feelings of inadequacy back.

But there’s not. I do enjoy your 9 goals and would love to just take them up as well but I have no idea if I’d be able to actually convince myself that things like that aren’t important.

That said, I am also going to try to write in this years NaNoWriMo which will be my first time trying to write a story (ie: not a research paper) in the past 7 years. I suppose now is the time to think of story ideas.

E: I suppose since they have this “buddy” system on the website here’s my NaNoWriMo account. Feel free to do whatever type of social interactions they have on that website.


#4

I’m doing it. I’ve done it every year since 2014 (the only year I “won”).

Some tips/tricks for anyone who wants to hit that 50k who hasn’t before:

  • Don’t delete anything you write no matter how bad you think it is. You’re only setting yourself back.
  • Don’t be afraid to write scenes out of order. If you care, mark the ends of a scene and then you can re-order them at the very end.
  • If you’re bored with a scene, character, plot device, etc. kill it off and move on.
  • Don’t worry about cliches or tropes. Those can be revised later.
  • Don’t worry about over explaining. Better to have to much than too little in your NaNo draft.

The thing is. A NaNo book is a rough draft and overthinking it and trying to write something perfect is probably the number one reason people fail. I know because I’ve done both. lol

Also, if you don’t worry about the process, if you just get into a flow and let whatever happens on the page happen, you might surprise yourself. I re-read my original 2014 book and went through and highlighted stuff I was happy with and crossed out stuff I hated. Now I have a working second draft for a bigger project.

NaNo can be super fun if you don’t take it too seriously.

Edit: @hope_shattered Your goals are very realistic and kind of what I do with my NaNo stuff.


#5

i’ve seen enough people burn out on nanowrimo negatively to say that it’s important not to put so much emphasis on the ritual itself; if writing isn’t something you’re capable of doing until you put yourself in a framework, then just cultivate a framework of your own. make writing/whatever creative outlet you’re into something divine, something you can immerse yourself into, where you’re respecting what you’re doing. candles, mechanical keyboards, typewriters, coffee, cigarettes. a inner switch being flipped in your brain. maybe white noise or brainwave generators & rainymood? adorn yourself religiously. you’re in prayer when you’re writing. keep your brain away from comparing and contrasting, or however you might let the world at large into your thoughts. writing is just what you do, the thinking part comes later.

just my thoughts. hope everyone who takes the challenge enjoys it!


#6

I tried like hell to churn out 1,600 words a day last year and couldn’t do it. I was frustrated with myself at the time (I think I made it a little more than half-way), but this year I’m going to allow myself to define the parameters within which I create “The Thing.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to try and put the old nose to the grindstone, but slavish devotion to word count is not something I feel capable of this year and that’s totally fine.

Though I will admit there is something thrilling about seeing how far I can push myself to generate words in a somewhat coherent order on a day-to-day basis. But I’m, like, SO tired.

Good luck to everyone!


#7

Tried last year. Lost steam on the 9th. Will see how it goes this year.


#8

The furthest I’ve ever gotten has been 20k words before giving up and burning out. I have a hard time keeping up with the pace of NaNo during November, so I tend to really only participate when they’re doing the Camp NaNo stuff over the summer, where you can set your own goals.


#9

Yeah, I’m not so sure either, and I know I’ve certainly flagged or stumbled on self-imposed challenges before – but OTOH, the last time I did so was also the last time I wrote literally anything? So hey, “Guess I’ll Give It A Shot IDK” Club unite! \o/


#10

It’s been a long time since I even attempted this, or wrote anything resembling fiction for that matter. I managed 50k words the first time, when I was in my early teens - but in subsequent years I’ve rarely had the focus or mental energy for it.

Except, this year I’m going to be on holiday for the first half of November, so… maybe let’s see how this goes.


#11

I’ve finished for the past five years and thought about asking around if anyone else was planning on doing it this year. It’s a lot of fun!

I usually do a fantasy novel but I’m feeling like trying my hand at something non genre this year. The idea is that the main character’s best friend dies. Except their best friend was someone they knew for years on the Internet and is actually extremely famous, wealthy, and ethically dubious in their public actions. The main character learns they were basically this famous person’s only real friend and had a hand in deciding the aforementioned ethically dubious decisions while being a friend without really understanding the weight. So it kind of tracks the fallout of the various levels of discovery, grief, and deciding what to do with a disgusting amount of money that was left as a gift but doesn’t feel like it.

That’s the setting, not sure what the actual plot will be. I think the setup should get me into some conflict and plot though. And if not, it’s only fifty thousand words and a month!

If anyone wants suggestions for how to keep at it and break through, or just want help with story ideas feel free to ask! The best advice was given above though: don’t take it too seriously, and remember this is is just a rough draft. And you can do it :+1:


#12

I am doing something for it! But I try to approach it from a similar perspective as some do Inktober: do something, anything, every day. Maybe I’ll write a short story or maybe I’ll work on a larger project, but my goal is not to grind out 50k words.

My goal with it is to write alongside my peers and help new people get into writing. I made a discord server based around support and encouragement rather than word count. We are setting our own personal goals for the month and it’s almost starting to feel like a cozy little writing group.

I’ve spent too many years burning out of nano to think that format works for me, so I am sort of doing my own thing with its momentum. (If anyone would like to hang out in our writing discord, you’re welcome to do so! https://discord.gg/THvbnph)


#13

Yeah, it’s been about a decade since I last tried this, so I don’t know whether it’ll work for me either – basically the equivalent a shorter short story every single day! – but hopefully the extremely concrete, specific, not-even-trying-to-be-sensical goal will break the paralysis that years of “just write something” weren’t able to do for me, and either way I’ll be able to take along any lessons-learned into future attempts to make words happen. Fingers crossed!


#14

Weirdly enough I was waiting to get tired last night and figured I’d open up the old word processor and just write until I fell asleep. Ended up going to sleep with 1760 words completed, so I guess day 1 is finished for me already.

It helps that the story I’m writing is somewhat of an analogue to my own life. Makes it so I’m more just describing memories and then adding in some over-the-top metaphors. I don’t think it’s very good currently, and I’m sure I would just delete it all and forget any of this ever happened, but I do feel a little proud having completed it. How’s everyone else’s first day going?


#15

I participate every year with varying degrees of success. This year is not looking too good since I have more responsibilities, but I’ll try. It is fun to attempt and even if I don’t make it.


#16

I’m honestly shocked at how well it went! I basically wrote until my glass ran out of water and my arm got a bit sore, and there were two thousand goddamn words on the page?? Apparently??? That is more writing I have done in under two hours than I have done in literally years.

Admittedly it was almost stream of consciousness – I went through my haphazard once-in-a-blue-moon dream logs, picked a few elements, and just went – but I must say, admonishing myself to strive for give-no-fucks bullshit wordspew seems to have worked for at least one day. And even if I find myself unable to keep this up, even this one day is still more than I’ve done in, again, literally years.


#17

Nice! It really does fly by if you try to ignore all the spelling mistakes and what-have-you. Good luck on today’s word count as well! I think I’m going to keep doing the same thing and just write at like 3am, barely conscious.


#18

Yeah, I’m doing it. Didn’t have time to make much of an outline, which is frustrating, but w/e. I’m not unused to writing a lot, especially longhand, which is how I’m doing this. I’ve got an A4 size Rhodia and a Tradio felt-tip pen, and since I have no intention to count out the words, I’m measuring by page number instead. If I average about 14 pages a day, that’ll take me to the 1600+ word limit I need.

I’m mostly writing longhand so I can write during work and my commute. My boss doesn’t like it when we bring our own computers, and I don’t want to get stuck carrying a laptop for a 2 mile walk back and forth from work to the bus stop. Notebooks are lighter.


#19

hearing about people writing in a more loose, stream of consciousness way makes me want to try this! really takes the pressure off once you stop beating yourself up over quality i think. i wanted to do it last year but i ended up getting caught up in work and stuff. i think i’ve only ever written fiction up to like 5,000 words so it might be tough but i’d like to try!!


#20

so i’m not trying to fuss too much about word counts right now, but i did manage to get in a decent chunk of writing while being pretty busy with work. i don’t think i’ll hit 50k words unless i really crank up the pace but i’ve always been kind of a slow writer so i’m trying not to beat myself up about it.

how’s everyone else doing?