NaNoWriMo is one of my very favorite things, and a bit of an obsession at this point, but it is also a very strange thing.
For anyone who’s been around my blog before, you already know that NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November. You can find a variety of posts about it throughout my blog, including last year’s A to Z Challenge entry on writing for N and my post about NaNoWriMo Prep Time.
Normally I’m talking about the 30 day challenge to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel and my own tips, tricks, and progress. Today, I’d like to address the insanity of the entire endeavor and some of the more amazing and strange experiences I’ve had with my local NaNoWriMo region (which I love and can’t wait to ML for again next year).
My local region of NaNoWriMo participants (also known as WriMos) is extremely active. We have write-ins all year long (those are gatherings of writers where we settle in for a few hours to write and sometimes chat craft). The MLs (aka Municipal Liaisons aka local volunteers) organize one workshop a month outside November and four NaNo-Prep workshops in October. The forums are always hopping in October and November, and our off-season Facebook Group has something going on at least once a week every other month of the year.
I’m extremely lucky to live where I do and get to interact with all the other amazing writers in my region.
And we get up to some strange stuff.
One event that we started last year is the Write-In-Motion. This is an epic all day event that starts at 8am (7:30 if you’re in the carpool) and goes until midnight. We travel to several locations around our region over the course of the day. Some folks join us for just one or two stops, but we had a core group of about a dozen this past year that met for the carpool at 7:30am and were still there at the last stop at 8pm. About half of them made it all the way to midnight with us. This is fun because we’re moving around and we have prizes and games and crowns and pictures and if you win word wars you end up on our regional Twitter account. Plus it’s great for your word count. We had several folks who did 5k or 10k over the course of the day and even some who topped 15k and 20k. We also had one WriMo who was feverishly typing at each event, and in the car rides between (this is the advantage of the carpool for a non-driver) and hit 50k at three minutes to midnight. It was epic.
And that is just one day of the journey. To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to write 1,667 words each day. That can be difficult when work, school, family, friends, or any number of other things are also clambering for your attention. It’s a huge commitment for a writer to decide to do NaNoWriMo. And it is a little bit crazy. Writing an entire novel in just a month? Every single year we get new folks who aren’t sure it’s possible. Then there are the overachievers. There were several folks in our region who wrote 85k-100k words this past November. I always tell people not to freak out about my word count. I can’t write short stuff to save my life and I can get really wordy and descriptive, which makes it a lot easier to top 100k in a single month. This does not mean I have a good first draft. It means I have an existing first draft that is just as awful (if not more so) than every other WriMos.
No matter how strange the event, the participants, or the crazy folks like me who volunteer to be MLs, NaNoWriMo is something I love and will be participating in for years to come.
It’s Camp NaNoWriMo right now. My project is reasonably on track, as fractured as it is. Anyone else out there participating in both challenges? How are you doing so far?