S2, E41: NaNo 2014 Approaches!

Back from vacation, yay! After a few quick updates on Zenbi Press and Aisuru, it’s time to talk about National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo AKA NaNo, including the general premise, a brief history, and starting off my NaNo prep series by talking about the initial steps for making the commitment to do NaNo!


  • Great vacation, very relaxing and love having that time with my sweetie; only disappointment was missing trying Shabu Shabu but did get to try Japanese curry and was delicious – only regret I was so annoyed I didn’t get some myself! Oh, and got sick while on vacation – another sinus infection. Go me.
  • Zenbi Press now has a bank account and I’m pretty much done with setting up the business stuff (for now) – will do a future episode about all that after the NaNo series
  • October is hectic and insane – stress!
  • 1st year anniversary of show passed (July 20th) and I didn’t notice LOL
  • Didn’t work on Aisuru during vacation, but decided to give myself a pass on that week; but am now down $20 in fun money for six months, though now that October the full $20 starts in November and stretches to April – yeah, more punishment!

Main Topic:

  • About National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo)
    • A creative writing event design to enable people of all ages to “find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential”
    • This year marks 15 years of NaNo existence!
      • Started in 1999 by Chris Baty and 20 friends who got together in San Francisco in July and decided to write novels.
      • The next year, they moved it to November because November in San Fran had “miserable weather” making it a perfect time to write. A friend offered to build a website and more people heard about it and wanted to join in, so it swelled to 140 people! Then people started asking about the rules and most of the current guidelines were born.
      • It continued to grow from there, with more programs added, more participants every year, and more donations coming in. So in 2005 Baty and crew formed a 501c3 nonprofit, the Office of Light and Letters, to handle things year round (renamed in 2013 to National Novel Writing Month)
      • In 2013, over 310k people participated in NaNo across 595 regions with nearly 90,000 more students and educators participating in the Young Writer’s Program
    • General premise: write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days
      • 50,000 because it is a challenging, but doable goal even for people with full-time jobs and kids
      • Technically if you finish at 50,000 words then you have a short novel or novella, but it is also intended to be a first-draft not a finished, polished work
      • Traditionally it’s always been that you are supposed to do 50,000 words of a new work, however this year it’s opened up to include continuing to work on an existing work so long as you only count new works
      • Rebels: revise instead of write, do screenplays/scripts, do multiple short stories instead of a novel, do memoirs, etc.
      • Many regions have local events, coordinate by municipal liaisons, where you can sit with like minded folks to write, feeding off each others creative energy and determination 🙂
    • What’s The Appeal?
      • NaNo isn’t a contest, it is an event that serves several purposes. One of its big goals is to give people who have always said they want to write a novel “someday” a “reason” to make that day be now. Many people never write because they don’t make time to do so. Others start writing, but never finish that first draft because their inner editor and self-doubts takeover, throwing up massive mental walls the aspiring writer doesn’t feel they can climb. NaNo gives them an “excuse” if you will, to give themselves some real time to work on it.
      • And by having participants focus on the quantity versus the overall quality, participants have to shut off those self-defeating worries and get it written. Writing 50k words in 30 days is a doable, entry-level goal that helps get past the pressure and road blocks while not stretching it so far that procrastination and dawdling becomes the new road block.
      • Most people who participate also find that it helps establish a writing routine (30 days of daily writing is long enough to form a habit). Going to the in-person events is incredibly helpful in bringing out creative energies and at least in my area, we all find ourselves producing more and better feeding off that energy (we’re writing succubi!).
      • I have also personally noticed that many NaNo participants, especially those who do a lot of in-person or online socializing, do so because they love to write but have had little to no support in their regular lives. With NaNo they can connect with like minded folks who won’t judge them or belittle them for writing.
      • What about those who have no desire to be published? Art for art’s sake can do wonderful things for you on a personal level. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.
    • My eighth year participating and I fully credit NaNo with being the impetuous from my going from random scribbles to actually finishing a novel, much less four; all of my novels started life as NaNo novels, including Aisuru. I keep doing it because it gives me one set aside month to write new drafts, while I can focus the other 11 on polishing!
  • Show Note: Doing Prepping Series in October
    • Goal is to do a post each weekend talking about the different aspects of pre-planning that can go into getting ready to start your NaNo novel
    • Keep in mind, I’m a pantser by nature, so the planning I will be looking at will be fairly broad; many folks can do much more detailed and extensive planning
  • Starting With: Making the Commitment!
    • Decide if you are going to do NaNo and if so, make a commitment to yourself that you will – tell your family and friends so they will bug you (hopefully) about how it’s going and so they are prepped for you to be busy in November
    • Schedule time for writing each day in November – put it on your calendar or your phone so you have it blocked off
    • Register at the NaNo site nanowrimo.org ! Hard to truly participate if you aren’t registered 😛
    • Connect with your local region – participate in the forums and consider attending the local events can really help keep up the energy, enthusiasm, and gives youan built in set of accountability partners!
      • If region has no ML or events, you can still be active in the forums for a virtual community of like minded folks ready to encourage, prod, and commiserate with you
    • Decide if you are going to be a pantser (make it up as you go with maybe a vague idea of the story’s overall plot and key points) or a planner (have notes and stuff made before November that may include an outline of the story, character sheets, world building notes, etc) – both are equally valid ways to write!
    • If you do best with positive reinforcement, consider small rewards for accomplishing key points, maybe some favorite chocolate, drink, or the like and a bigger one for hitting 50,000
    • Negative work best? Work out a set of punishments for getting too far behind, missing goals, missing the 50k mark

Progress Report: 22-23 polished, 24-25, and 27 written and polished, 26 skipped/debating

Monthly Goals: Finish Aisuru; prep work for Duality (working title of NaNo 2014 Novel)