Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Kickoff

Last year, I wasn't very confident about doing NaNoWriMo since I had a huge optical certification exam. I had not studied very much several months leading to taking the test the third week in November, and I was cramming. Big time.

Somehow, I had written enough before cramming and after taking the test for me to hit that 50K word count goal and win for the second year in a row. It was a miracle.

This year, I'm no longer working in the ophthalmic/optical industry, but I've still got a HUGE obstacle looming for this year's NaNo. I will be out of town for work for an entire week. Monday-Friday. I'll be in Kalamazoo, Michigan and there won't be time for writing at all. Lots and lots of medical training will be going on. So yeah, five whole days...

It's funny, because whenever November rolls around, you hear the debate emerge all over again. There's one school of thought that believes NaNoWriMo is not only stupid, but is actually detrimental to many writers. One author buddy explained it to me simply: writers are pressured to hit that word count, and they burn themselves out by writing "crap." After NaNo, the writer is left with 50,000 words that are unpublishable and the manuscript will need heavy demolition and reconstruction to make it halfway decent.

The other school is thought is that NaNoWriMo is a way to kick the procrastination monster. To stop talking about writing and get your ass in that chair and finally, you know, write. I can't tell you how many so-called-writers don't actually do much writing. It's sad.

Obviously, for me, NaNoWriMo is not only a way for me to kick it into high-gear and get some stuff down on my screen, but it's an opportunity to be part of a writing community. I have forged a comradery with my regional group here in St. Louis. Although I'm not super-involved with all the events and write-ins because of my travel schedule, I still participate when I can. We all support each other, which is pretty cool.

I tend to be an over-thinker, so NaNo forces me to just let it all out.
The Mothman

My NaNo novel this year is titled The Gateway Mothman. It's about the legendary creature, The Mothman, coming to St. Louis. It's been so much fun writing about my hometown, although all the names have been changed to protect the (not-so) innocent. If you're doing NaNo and we're not buddies, look me up: Jay Noel.

Although it's unlikely that I'm going to slay that 50K word count dragon, I've posted my NaNo wordcount graphic in the upper right corner of my blog to motivate me. I'll try my best, but even if I don't win, I'll still have more words down than I did on October 31st.

See you at the finish line!

33 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I know some think it's a bad idea, but I wrote one of my books during NaNo, and another during BuMo. So it can be done.
Good luck, Jay!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The Mothman is a great urban legend to tackle. Good luck writing this month.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm an over-thinker, too, and NaNo gives me both a deadline and a freedom to just let it all out on the page. And sure, chunks of writing will stink but chunks won't - it's like mining for gold, sifting through the mud to find those nuggets. :)

Jay Noel said...

Alex: I do think NaNo isn't a good idea for some writers. It depends on your writing style and how you're wired, I think.

Diane: I've been wanting to do this for a long time, so it's been fun

Madeline: NaNo also frees me from wanting to go back and edit what I've just written. I get to be free from my normal writing OCD

Sarah Foster said...

Yeah, a NaNo novel might be crap, but I think most of the time a first draft is going to need a huge amount of editing, so if you can get it done in a month, it just saves time. I was planning on doing it this year but I think I've given up already. Good luck with yours!

Jay Noel said...

Sarah: I think it helps if you're working on a project that you've been mulling around in your head for a long time, and planning (outlining and such) helps. My project has been bouncing around in my brain for more than five years, so I've been dying to write this. Great point, and thanks!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Can't wait to read it. WRITE ON, brother.

Jay Noel said...

Teresa: Thanks for your encouragement!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm in awe of those of you who take on this challenge. Good luck and I have confidence you will slay this dragon of a goal.

Pat Hatt said...

Sure you'll get through it, but may be a little rough with the work week. Just ups the challenge.

Robin said...

I thought about NaNo last year and didn't do it... partly because it takes me so long to figure out how to navigate any new social media site. I didn't want to put in the time to figure it all out. Sad, I know. But, you have no idea how long I stumbled around Blogger trying to get a handle on THIS site. Now that I am closer to revisions being done on my existing WiP, I do need to sit down and brainstorm the next one. So, even though I'm not an official NaNo participant, I do plan to work on that next book this month!!!

Good for you for committing despite the obstacles!!!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I too am participating. I wish you luck overcoming your time crunch. As for me, So far so good, but it's still early in the month. I need to crank out 600 more words today to meet my goal.

Jay Noel said...

Susan: I'm in awe that I we even make such a leap! And thanks!

Patt: I'll do my best to make up for a lost week. It's going to be insane.

Robin: Hope you have a productive month, with or without NaNo!

Michael: Awesome. I'll look you up!

Julie Abner-Abeita said...

Good luck. I'm doing Nano this year, for the first time in about a decade. I didn't finish then, but I am more confident this go around.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Last year I got 12,000-odd words into a novel I hadn't been able to start so Nanowrimo is very helpful. This year I'm doing double duty with both my own novel on my queendsheena account and my pseuodynm Roe with Roe 2. So far Huntress for Roe 2 is ahead while queendsheena has run into complications. But I still plan to finish Nanowrimo for the first time and I believe I'm doing good so far.

Jay no matter your word count I bet you will be happy that you took part. Hate it or love it Nano helps people seriously consider doing a novel and some actually start and the ones who finish have a novel to show off no matter it's starter stage. Best of luck with both your work and your Nano project sir.

Mark Noce said...

Wow, power to ya! I never meet my NaNo goals, but I am doing lots of editing this month, so that'll probably be my challenege for the next few weeks. Let me know how it goes for you this year:)

Stephen Tremp said...

Kalamazoo, eh? My current WIP is set in this area. Anyway, I'm doing NaNo and hopefully will hit that 50,000 mark for the first time.

Crystal Collier said...

I'm playing along this year, but I'll be happy to get a 25K count. It's been utter insanity around here and my brain is already tired. I tend to hold to the first school of thought about NaNo, but I'm using it this year to help get me moving on some deadlines.

Unleashing the Dreamworld

DEZMOND said...

tame that dragon, tame that dragon! :)

Intangible Hearts said...

You can do this Jay.

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

I always admired NaNoers but never had a chance to participate. I'm not "officially" doing it but I am applying the principal to my WIP which I can't seem to focus on and it's really helping! good luck with your writing!

Carol Kilgore said...

Yay for you! Just like we each write differently, I think NaNo is good for some and not so good for others. And also good for some projects but not others.

Jenna Howard said...

I actually enjoy NaNo. Yes I finished a book and no I haven't done anything with it yet. I just actually re-read it and it needs some fine tuning so it may be my new years project. I'm not signing up this year mostly because I'm 1 or 2 chapters away from finishing a book and I want to spend the month getting it ready for publication instead of working on something new. Plus I need a bit of downtime between books just so my characters don't sound alike so NaNo for me.

But good luck! On a book I will probably never read. Just saying. The Mothman sounds way too scary for this girl.

David P. King said...

Good luck, Jay! I have a different NaNo goal in mind while the writing figures itself out. This sequel is tricky, but it's slowly becoming incredibly awesome. :)

Cathrina Constantine said...

Good luck with NaNo. I could never participate because I write too slow!!! Much success to you!!

farawayeyes said...

I truly enjoyed participating in NaNo two years ago,but have not been motivated to do it since. Not exactly sure why, just me I guess. Good for you, setting those obstacles aside and moving forward anyway.

Mothman - I saw a movie by the same name and it still gives me nightmares if I let it. Not my cuppa tea.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Slay it or not, attempting to tame the beast is sometimes all we can do. I actually forgot it was NaNoWriMo month, but I have rededicated myself to writing my latest inspiration this month. Maybe I can turn my own NaNoWriMo into a two-month endeavor. I bet I can make a real dent if I can throw December into the mix. Want to join me?

Stephanie Faris said...

NaNoWriMo got me going back in 2007 or 2008 after I'd kind of gotten lazy! I believe it's a great tool for pounding out a first draft but I think some authors pound out that draft and send it off. I've heard editors and agents complain about the books they get in the months immediately following NaNo for that very reason!

dolorah said...

I think self motivation is the key to success. And if you truly write as often as you are able, then it is a success.

I don't put that much pressure on myself to write NaNo; just thinking of a deadline for writing kicks my procrastination addiction into overdrive. But I'm hoping to do some productive writing this month.

good luck Jay, and I hope your traveling slows enough for you to satisfy your writing goals.

jaybird said...

No Na-no for me this November, cause my computer was jacked up for a few weeks now. But I am always super supportive if it works for you!! Anything that gets your creative juices flowing and people writing, sounds good to me. Best of luck.

I went down to Florida for almost two weeks during A-Z and thought I would die trying to post. But it all worked out in the end- and I didn't miss one letter. Where there is a will Jay, there is a way. I have every confidence in you! You will hit your mark :)

Nick Wilford said...

We're both doing well - my wordcount is only about 100 words away from yours! Been hovering just behind being on track after a difficult start (laptop gave up the ghost to the point of being unusable, and I wrote several handwritten sheets before switching to my stepdaughter's laptop she no longer uses). We only have to do a bit more than the 1667 each day to win. I'm definitely on the positive side of the NaNo fence - most first drafts need a ton of work anyway, and you've got a story down if it might not look very elegant yet. Also, deadlines are definitely great for kicking my butt into gear, and you don't normally have them throughout the year. You can do it, good luck!

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