I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's Almost Here!!




I am taking the plunge. I am going to write a novel in the month of November. I have updated my page at the official NaNoWriMo website, searched out my writing buddies, and caught up with friends from years past. Bring on November the first!

What is NaNoWriMo you ask? As my fellow Ponderer, Lisa, wrote at the beginning of this month it is the National Novel Writing Month with the subtitle "thirty days and nights of literary abandon!"

Some may be wondering why in the world writing a novel in a month needs its own website. Well, I will tell you: it’s about the fellowship and it’s about the fun. It’s about succeeding and celebrating the successes of others. If you write 50K words before the month is out, no matter how bad those words may be, you win. And what writer, with all the rejections and disappointments out there, doesn’t want to WIN?! Creator Chris Baty and all of his little elves have worked hard to make this a fabulously fun global contest, counting the words of almost 120K novelists in 2009. The website servers calculated 1.6 BILLION words!

I know, right!? You totally want in on that action! And if you are still on the fence, let me tell you what else you can expect when you commit (sign up) to NaNoWriMo 2010:

You will receive pep talks by widely published authors. Personally, I can’t wait to see what Lemony Snicket has to say! Imagine my sheer wonder in a NaNo past, to open my Yahoo mail and see an email from Sue Grafton sitting right there in my inbox! It was exhilarating to read that she was thinking about me, and hoping my writing was going well. She told me of her own struggles and encouraged me to keep going. I know this email went out to thousands of other writers, but in that one moment, it was just me and I is for I Know You Can Do It!

And that’s not all!! They provide fun web badges and widgets to put on your facebook or in emails or on your MBT My Page so you can announce to as many people as possible that you are writing a book in a month! This is something you will definitely want to do. Tell absolutely everyone what you are doing; the more the better! People will ask you how it is going, and you won’t want to disappoint, so you will write.

In addition, I highly recommend joining your regional group. Not only do you compete on a global word count scoreboard, your “municipal liaisons” are fun leaders who facilitate a lot of great writing activities. My region has a kick off at a local 24-hour coffee place, and novelists can stay and write together as long as they like after midnight on the 1st. We also have places to meet up and write every evening during the month, complete with a chat room if we are unable to attend in person. These “write ins” offer specified times, away from your house and family and responsibilities. Usually drinks and snacks are available. And Word Wars. Ah yes, the Word Wars. They are the key to winning this thing! When that timer gets set for 15 minutes, type like a maniac to have the highest word count in the group. It is amazing what a little competition can do for word count! Then, as often as you like (I have, on occasion, posted after adding only 16 words) post and update your word count and then watch your progress at the top of the NaNoWriMo home page. It is oddly rewarding to watch the gold bar inch across the screen.

Looking for a way to keep yourself motivated and on track without the trappings of actually being online? You need a desk top calendar! There are a ton of people who have designed special wallpapers and calendars to help you track your words and be inspired each and every day. I search until I find one I like, and then right click on it to make it my computer desk top image. You can find a plethora of offerings in this NaNoWriMo forum. This is the perfect time to do a little cleaning. Take all those crafty links and folders cluttering up the desktop and either send them to the trash, or put them all in one giant folder in the very outermost region to keep those things from being a distraction. Then the current NaNo WIP folder seems to be the only thing you see!

If you are looking for more online support, or just a place to vent or procrastinate, forums on just about every topic or genre you can imagine are available at the official website. Find your regional forum…that one keeps you close to the people in your area, including any activities they might have planned. Also, if this is your first year, check the forum for Newbies. You can adopt a mentor to help you through the NaNo experience. A word to the wise…the forums can be black holes of your time and writing, so I suggest setting a timer before going in! And don’t forget your writing buddies! You can add writers in your region, or MBT Voices, or the new friend you made at ACFW, or any of us Ponderers who are signing up. I would love to be your writing buddy. Go to the NaNo website, sign in, hit the “search” tab and choose “author.” Plug in my NaNo name (GoosesGirl93) and follow the links to add me to your list. And don't forget to visit the MBT NaNoWriMo Celebration page to find more buddies, fabulous prizes, and to get a sweet deal on Susan May Warren's Book Buddy, the perfect companion for NaNoWriMo!

One last thing that as a home school mom I must share! I have my two boys involved, with the Young Writers Program. It offers an awesome interactive website that includes the printable (FREE!!) NaNoWriMo’s 100% awesome, non-lame Young Novelist Workbook available for elementary, middle, and high school levels. These are particularly useful if you happen to home school your kids, but even kids in mainstream schooling can participate and you can all write together. Each young writer chooses their own word count goal (some might need a little help knowing what is realistic for their age) and it is awesome to see their reactions when they see their own word count begin to grow. Their website offers articles to help with writing and language arts as well as age appropriate forums where they can interact with other young writers. And, (I am ridiculously jealous about this) the young writers receive pep talks, from awesome YA authors like Jerry Spinelli and Avi.

So take the plunge with me! It isn’t something to fear…it’s made to be fun. Your inner editor is NOT invited so you have absolutely nothing to lose! Gather up your chocolate and your favorite caffeinated drinks, and let’s do this!!

15 comments:

  1. For the record, this blog was almost the length of the daily goal to make 50K in 30 days. It seems pretty easy when we're writing a blog, or an email. And I apologize if it was too long...I tend to get a little wordy when I get on a roll...so why does making that word count every day seem so difficult? Okay, I'm done now. =)

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  2. I'm jazzed now! Got my BookBuddy, read your post and I'm ready to go! Great post, Heidi. You're a good cheerleader.

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  3. Ya, Heidi! So glad you're joining the fun!
    I'm sweetTee in the NaNoWriMo forum and I'm going to print up my Book Buddy and start brainstorming my WIP so I am ready to go on Monday!

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  4. Great post, Heidi! I'm doing NaNo...username: Melissa Tagg. Yeah, such a creative name, I know...:)

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  5. I'm excited to begin a new story on Monday! I'm so glad you're doing it, Heidi. You have such a great writing voice. We'll be here to cheer you on. Great post!

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  6. I'm excited for all you attempting NaNoWriMo. I can't wait to hear all the stories!

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  7. Huh???? 50,000 words in 30 days? What you you? crazy? Yep... and so are we!!! And so am I! What a wonderful way to create a brand new book! I'm with ya... all 5 0 , 0 0 0 words!

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  8. Great blog, Heidi! Wow, you've got me fired up! Very informative for a NaNo newbie like myself.

    Paula

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  9. Pat~ So glad I could encourage you! This is my third year, and I just love all of the fun activities available to help us succeed. I look forward to cheering you on over the next several weeks!

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  10. Beth~ I just downloaded my Book Buddy and I am thrilled! I absolutely love, love, LOVE having all of Susie's fantastic writing books (which I already own) streamlined into this awesome workbook designed specifically for NaNoWriMo! That Susan May Warren never ceases to amaze me!

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  11. Melissa~ You are probably smart in saving up all your creativity for the coming month! I look at some of the screen names for novelists in my regional group and I wonder how long it took them to come up with something so...um...interesting. My screen name is GoosesGirl93 which is a name I came up with about a hundred years ago, and I still use some variant of it for almost everything! It's pretty simple, though. My husband's nickname all through high school and college was Goose (despite the fact that our last name rhymes with rice)and I became his girl in 1993. And there you have it. Because I knew everyone was losing sleep over the meaning of my screen name, lol!

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  12. Lisa~ You flatter me, and I thank you for your kind words. I think you were still on my buddy list from last year...which I only figured out after several unsuccessfully attempts to add you today! Anyway, like you, the thought of a brand new story with all that untapped potential is very, very exciting. Whoo hoo!!

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  13. Ginger~ We will be relying on you to be the voice of sanity in the coming month! Be prepared to do some very serious brainstorming with us. I'm secretly glad you aren't doing it so I can take advantage of your brainstorming prowess!! Speaking of your mad skills, I can't wait to hear how the Storycrafter retreat is going!! =)

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  14. Reba~ This kind of crazy is right up your alley! Hurry up and add me to your buddy list and we will win this thing, one word at a time!

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  15. Paula~ I'm so glad you are jumping in and I'm glad I could help get you fired up. Give yourself permission to write badly, turn off those squiggly red and green lines so you are not tempted to edit, and just write whatever comes out! And add me as a buddy as soon as possible...we are right around 72 hours (depending on your time zone) until we are underway!

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