And because I am most definitely a Wrimo, I know NaNoWriMo is starting next week!
I can’t believe a year has already passed from last NaNo post, whitch was one of the firsts I posted on the new self-hosted blog. It has been such a meaningful year for me and this blog. A year of learning and discovering, of meeting beautiful people and fellow bloggers and of finding my way as a writer.
So this NaNo post is more than a NaNo post for me.
But if a year ago this blog was new to me, NaNoWriMo certainly wasn’t. This will be (gasp!) my 10th NaNo. I kind of think I should celebrate.
NaNo never fails to be a new, rewarding and exciting experience. Every year there’s something new to experiment with, new people to meet, new stories to discover. Over these ten years, NaNo has given me something new every time I took part.
The first time I participated was rewarding because it was new and I did it. I could indeed write a novel (well, nearly a novel. It wasn’t finished when I hit the 50k words mark) in one month, incredible as that sounded.
The second time it was rewarding because I worked to a much more complex story and I could managed it. I loved The Dwarven Blade, that year project.
Then I discovered something which should have been obvious, but it hadn’t been. The first two NaNo were a solitary experience for me. I did my challenge, I won and it was nice. But when I discovered NaNo wasn’t just a challenge, but a community… boy, that opened up a completely new world. Having buddies, cheering one another, teasing, challenging, congratulating, sharing. This is what NaNo is for me today and it took me a while, but I’m still enjoying it a lot.
That’s why I always say, don’t worry whether you can write 50k words in a month. Just try. Immerse yourself in the experience, it will be rewarding in itself. And you’ll find that if you take the challenge not alone but together with many buddies, it’ll be a lot easier writing those 50k words.
So, if you are on the fence whether to take part or not, I’d say go for it!
Last time I did a straight NaNo it was 2010, when I drafted Ghost Trilogy. A straight NaNo means that you write the first draft of a novel. But over the years, NaNo has evolved to accommodate to the many needs of the thousands of people who take part. Today, the challenge is writing those 50k words in the month of November. What you write is up to you. Revision, biography, travel guides, plays. You can write anything. You can even start writing before NaNo, as long as you do write 50k words during November.
It’s really up to you. There is no judges or prizes with NaNo except your personal satisfaction.
From 2011 I’ve been a rebel. That means, I’m writing 50k words, but not as the first draft of a novel. These four years in between I’ve been revising Ghost Trilogy. This year I’ll be rebelling very hard and will be not only revising, but writing new posts for this blog. I whole lot of new posts.
This is what I plan.
Give in to the Feeling
This is the very first story I wrote featuring Blood, Michael and Susie back in 2009 and it’s about how Blood and Susie met and fell in love.
The story has been completed for four years, but lately I started thinking I’d like to revisit it. So many things have changed over these years. The characters have hugely evolved and I learned so many things about the 1920s I didn’t know when I wrote this story.
This is what I’m doing right now: rewriting – and let me tell you I didn’t expect to enjoy it so much. True, the plot is basically the same, I didn’t change much in terms of plot. But the characters!
When I first wrote this story, it was mostly a characters study. I was planning a novel with Blood, Michael and Susie (not Ghost Trilogy, that came later on), and I wanted to try the characters even if I thought I had a pretty clear idea of them. Still I struggled to find a balance, to pinpoint what each character wanted and what space I should give to each of them.
I thought the result was pretty good, but guess what! After five years of working with these characters, I know them so well, it’s pure pleasure writing them. They have also evolved so much that some episode simply don’t sound like them any longer and I had to rework them. I also changed the central conflict of the story (now it’s much more about Susie and her choices) and the motives of all the characters. Well, it is the same story… though I’m not sure it is the same story…
One of the many reasons I wanted to rewrite Give in to the Feeling is that I want to edit it with a professional editor. It is manageable and affordable and I’m really anticipating it, because this is something I’ve ever done before. And if it turns out good enough, I’d like to try and self-publish it.
So I plan all kinds of new experiences around this project. I’m really excited.
Jazz Age Jazz
Last April I took pat in the AtoZ Challenge, for which I thought I was prepared enough. Insert hysterical laughter here.
Don’t get me wrong, I had done a lot of work in advance (hence why I thought I was prepared), but in the end that barely allowed to go through the challenge (and there was a moment in the middle of it I really thought I wasn’t going to make it). Because most of my time was taken up by taking notes, writing and revising articles, searching for suitable photos, look up references and posting the damned thing, I ended up having little time for true networking. I ended up sticking with a handful of blogs – truly awesome ones, I enjoyed them a lot, but I know that AtoZ could have been a much larger experience if I had been better prepared and I had to do less of the leg work while taking part.
So, since I’ve already decided my theme and I even figured out most of the letters, I’m going to write all my posts during NaNo.
I’ll be blogging about early jazz, in a series of posts heavily influenced by Kathy J. Ogren’s beautiful social history of 1920s jazz. It’s a subject I don’t know as much as I’d like, so I’m really looking forward to writing and researching and later on adding some more to my posts.
Oh, and since I’m still missing letters E, V, Y and Z, if any of you has a suggestion, let me know please (no artist, I’d prefer to avoid using people as entries).
The New Woman’s New Look
Guys, let me tell you I didn’t expect the enthusiasm you showed me for this series. It’s true, I put a lot of effort into it and it means a lot for me that many of you pointed this out. That some told me it was well worth the wait. That they learned new things from the series. This is what it is all about. Your appreciation is what makes this all worthwhile… I just wanted to tell you.
There will be at least four more entries in the series. I have a lot of notes already taken, but since I’m trying to make it as organic as possible and avoid repeating the same concepts in different posts, there’s still quite a bit of work to do in terms of organization. Then I’ll have to write it. And that’s where NaNo comes in.
A few tags and challenges
I’m behind with a few tags and challenges I’ve gather over the summer, and since it will never be said that I don’t take up a challenge when it comes my way, I’m going to write them during NaNo.
- A Day in the Life Photo Challenge (thanks to Celine) – The Cliffs of Moher.
- Photo Chalelnge (thanks to Celine again) – My routine day in Verona
- 777 (thanks to Lucy Flint….) From the new story?
- Siblinghood of the World Bloggers (thanks to Sara Letourneau). Sara actually left this one openes, but since it is such a nice challenge, I’d like to take it up.
And I won’t be writing the Spooktacular Challenge (thanks to Ed) because that needs to be ready by the 31th October.
Last year I did a parallel challenge during NaNo, posting an article about my NaNo experience every day. Since I think I have more then enough on my hands already this year, I’m not going to do it again. But I’d like to let you guys know where I am in the challenge, so I’ll try to be good and post one update a week.
Lots of odds and ends
I’m telling you, when you decide to write 50k words of blog posts (even if some 11k are really a short story) you don’t really know what you’re doing.
Because I was starting to realise what I was doing, last week I sat down to plan my posts and organise my 30 days as best I can.
It’s going to be a hell of a lot of posts!
There are a couple of interviews, characters intro I want to write, a new ‘About this blog’ page. Presentation material for Give in to the Feeling. At least one more post about the 1920s, inspired by a book I’ve read and will be about the Scopes Trial. I’m also coming up with more posts about the 1920s, though at the moment I’m still deciding about the subject matter.
You know? I’m not sure I’ll make it this year… but I’ll try!
So, you now also know what I’m planning for this blog. this November I’ll probably won’t be as present on here as I normally try to be, but don’t give up on me!
Anyone else doing NaNo?
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Sounds fantastic! I’m doing Nano again this year as well. It’s always an adventure as well as a challenge. And it’s always good for word count, even if you don’t win. I’ll be using it to finish my decodrama this year, which makes me a rebel there as well, I suppose 😛 If you’d like to add me as a writing buddy on the site, my username is violetwinter. Best of luck to you!!
Holly, I will definitely look for you there. My name on the site is Celebcùen (my old web name 😉 )
I think NaNo is a perfect motivator for finishing things.
Sara C. Snider
You know, I’ve never really been interested in NaNo before, but now you’re convincing me! I didn’t know you could work on an already-started manuscript (I thought it had to be completely new), so that opens up possibilities. And I love that you’re going to work on blog posts during that time. I could definitely get behind doing something like that. You’ve actually gotten me thinking about if I could make it work this year, but I honestly don’t think I should. I’ve got too many things I’m trying to get done, not all of which is writing related (like upgrading the appearance of certain pages on my blog). Maybe next year, though!
I will always recommand NaNo, it’s a perfect way to have writing done and in a fun way. It’s surprising how much work you can do in just one month. I find it motivating and satisfactory.
So, I hope to see you next year? 😉
I won’t wish you good luck since it doesn’t really matter how much you write. I will, however, wish you all the best with your book that you might release… and self-published as well! Sarah Zama… slumming it! Haha. It will be a good experience for you, though 😉
I’ve never done Nano myself and won’t this year. I have other projects that I need to focus on and don’t really feel the need to ‘enter’ something to write. I can, however, appreciate the benefits that NaNo offers to those writers that struggle to find a routine for their writing or who have difficulty committing ‘pen to paper’.
Personally, it doesn’t matter if you write 50,000 or 500, the ‘lesson’ should be about finding your own rhythm and learning how to commit time to your writing. That is far more valuable than a word count in the long run. After all, no two writers do things the same or write at the same speed.
Alice E. Keyes posted a link on Twitter to a blog that weighed up the pros and cons of NaNo. It was quite refreshing and perhaps important for those in two minds about whether to do it or not and especially for those ‘new’ writers that feel that they should.
Here’s the link to that post: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2015/10/27/why-you-should-do-nanowrimo-and-why-you-shouldnt/
I think I’m so fond of NaNo because it taught me just that: what kind of writer I am, what’s best for me in terms of organising my writing, but above all that I can do a lot more work than I’d ever imagine I could.
That’s why I think everybody should try it at least once.
Yes, I’ve decided that while I’m trying the trad publishing route I’d also like to try the self-publishing. One should know their options first hand, don’t you think?
Self-publishing will also give me the opportunity to work with professionl figures that I suspect I need before submitting traditionally rather than after.
But I have to admit that querying the traditional way has already taught me something and that’s valuable. I can’t wait to see what self-publishing will teach me 🙂
Good. Self-publishing is not always about throwing money at professionals, though. Anyone can do that. The self-publishing journey should also encourage you to improve upon or learn new skills yourself. You have creative control and that doesn’t have to mean control over what creativity your money can buy.
We’ll have to disagree as usual as I don’t think everyone ‘has to’ try NaNo at least once.
R.L. Stevenson wrote 60,000 words in 6 days… he used cocaine. Now… where did I put that phone number… 😉
Crispian, you know I’m always happy to agree with you to disagree 😉
The reason I want to edit my story with a professional is that from the response of a few of the agents I queried, I undertand my story has problem that I don’t see. So I hope working with a professional will help me see these problems and help me solve them.
I’m also very excited at the idea of promoting my story, and I plan to do it myself, if I’ll self-publish it. I already have lots of ideas… some of which were inspired by you 🙂
I really think self-publishing will be a forming experience and will be useful whatever way I’ll go afterwards.
I didn’t know that NaNo had extended into writing 50,000 words of WHATEVER. Someday I’ll use it to write a memoir. For now, I think I might rock your 50,000 words of blog posts idea–it’s a lofty goal anyway, plus being a student and spending 10 days in November traveling will make it nearly impossible, but I’m going to try!!
Yayy! Fellow Wrimo!!!
What’s your name on the NaNo site? I’ll hadd you as buddy (mine is Celebùen) 🙂
I didn’t know NaNoWriMo allowed revisions. That’s a great idea. Since I have three novels in the revision stage, that’s where I am. It certainly makes the contest more appealing.
It’s officially 1 hour = 1000 words 🙂
I’ll find you on the NaNo site. What’s your name there? I’ll add you as buddy 🙂
Good luck with NaNo! This’ll be my second year officially participating, but I began books in November in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Had I known one only needs to write 50K, not a book complete at only that scant length, I would’ve been officially participating a long time ago! The book I started last November isn’t done yet (but hopefully a lot closer), though I’m doing my fourth volume with my Russian characters so I have something new to work on. I also have some blog posts to work on during that time, including mini-series on the films The Great Dictator and A Night at the Opera (which will require more work than the other film-related posts I’m planning). If possible, I’d also like to do a little work on my pre-existing WIP in between all that.
Another fellow Wrimo! What’s your name on the site, I’ll go find you 🙂
Your plan seem very interesting too. I’ve been enjoying your posts about silent film, can’t wait to read more about them.
November is very close!
You’re brave for doing NaNoWriMo, Sarah! I don’t have the time for it between my day job and other things, so I can’t fathom making it part of my November.
Your plans on how to spend your NaNoWriMo time are fantastic, too. There’s a lot of variety in topics, and the fact that you’ve done a lot of the research in advance will help with efficiency / productivity. And if you get your April A To Z posting done now, you’ll have more time for visiting other participants’ posts. Very smart, IMO. 🙂
Best of luck! And don’t worry about how much it affects your blogging presence in November. Whenever you post something new, your readers will come back. 😉
Let’s see how the AtoZ posts work out. Would you believe that’s the part of NaNo that worries me the most?
I’m not going to push you, but there’s a lot we can do and we don’t know until we try. In 2010, when I drafted Ghost Trilogy during NaNo, I would get up at 7:00, write for roughly one hour and then off to work. At the end of NaNo, I couldn’t believe I had half of the trilogy drafted!
But hey, maybe next year you’ll be a buddy too 😉
I’m in awe at your productivity! As a fellow A to Z participant I’m intrigued at the idea of writing your posts in November. I do have an idea for next year, but not yet 100% sure I’ll actually do it.
Nooo! Why not do it?
What is the idea you’re thinking about . Maybe I can talk you into writing it now 🙂
So excited that you’re going to try going indie with that story. I have to say I’ve learnt SO much from publishing The Viper and the Urchin, and the feedback from readers has been invaluable. I can really see that it’s made a noticeable difference in my writing and confidence as a writer. That in itself made the experience worth it.
50k worth of blog posts is quite an undertaking! I thought of doing NaNo, but I’m just not at the right place to do first draft work, so no NaNo for me this year. Good luck though!
And I’m super excited for the future posts for the New Woman series. That first one was a fantastic introduction so I can’t wait to read more!!
But you can rebel and revise during NaNo. That’s what I’ve done the past four years 😉
There are many reasons why I want to try the self-publishing route if the story ends up being suitable. I do think it will be a forming experience and I’m so excited that, even if I haven’t decided yet, I’m already planning it.
Does that make any sense?
I’m happy you liked the New Woman debute. I’ll try to keep up with it 🙂
I’m doing NANO again this year, although I’m not at the 10 year mark like you are. Kudos! This will be my 5th year. The first three years I barely made it past 18-25k. Last year was the first time I finished over 50k.
Funny thing, the past few days I’d been working on my A to Z list also. That’s how I discovered you, was in last years A to Z. Last year I tried three blogs, and had about 2/3 of the posts written before hand. Like you, I thought I was ahead of the game and would sail through the month. Not so! Even with that much prewritten, still searching for pictures, posting, and trying to make the rounds just about did me in. I decided that to stay sane in 2016, I’ll prewrite EVERY post , and have the pictures ready to go.
Hi Trisha. Thanks so much for stopping by!
I’m sure this year will be a good one for you NaNo too. I mean, you have the hang of it now, you can’t miss 😉
What’s your name on the NaNo site? I’ll look for you.
I MY kudos for handling THREE blogs over AtoZ. I wouldn’t be able to do that. Even having written everything beforehands.
Have you alreadu decided your theme for next year AtoZ?
I’m on NANO as Trishafaye.
My A to Z blogs will be Vintage Daze (items and people from the past), Writer’s Zen (affirmations for writing), and I’m not sure of my Trisha Faye theme yet. It’s between cat rescue and hiking.
Are you jazzfeathers on NANO?
Hey, your themes sounds awesome. You already have a follower for your challenge 😉
Going off lookingn for you on the NaNo site. I’l Celebcùen over there.
And OMG!!! It’s tomorrow!!!!
J Lenni Dorner
I am doing NaNo! And yes, I’m excited. We should be buddies and cheer each other on.
Hi Lenni. That we should do!
Going off looking for you on the NaNo site 😉