For those who don’t know about NaNoWriMo, is one month, 30 days, of sitting in front of your computer and writing. The goal is 50,000 words, unedited, and completely insane writing. In its 13th year, NaNoWriMo has been the culprit for sleepless nights, over-indulgence of caffeine, and a layer of dust on the stove. It’s madness, I tell you, but don’t take my word for it.
I’ve asked Dawn, a fellow NaNo inmate, to stop by and answer a few questions that may or may not prompt you to join the insanity.
Dawn, When was the first time you sat down and joined NaNoWriMo, and WHY?
I found the NaNoWriMo site quite by accident in 2009. I was surfing for writer message boards and happen to find it a few days before November. I signed up under a pseudonym, told NO ONE what I was doing and jumped in.
To my surprise, I LOVED it! I hadn't experienced that kind of support and camaraderie (which I know now is common in the writing community). I finally confessed to my husband what I was doing. He was extremely supportive. I finished with about 54,000 words.
Aside from Chris Baty—the creator of this craziness—who was your inspiration to keep on the path of 50,000+?
I think the inspiration is in the community and in that little word count bar. I love watching that thing move! I am also not a quitter, ever, on anything. So, I had to finish that first year, because, well, I am me. After the first one, I was hooked.
We all, as in the NaNo inmates, know that the word count average per day is 1667, what was the largest number of word you’ve written in one sitting? And why couldn’t you just get up and shower? I'm a quick writer. So, the 1667 word count isn't normally a problem for me. I can't remember the most I have written in one sitting, but I do know I have dedicated a whole day to "All I am going to do is sit here and write."
I think the freedom of the story is what pulls you in. In my case, I can't function without a shower (it is the first thing I do in the morning, no matter what I have planned for the rest of the day). But, I will tell you the dishes piled up, the laundry reached mountainous proportions and the kids got a lot of "just grab a granola bar from the pantry" because I was lost in the story. I wasn't worried about editing. I wasn't concerned that I hadn't chosen the exact word for that sentence. I was laying the foundation, getting the story out and that was all that mattered.
After November 30, what was the first thing you did?
Feel kind of sad that I didn't have an excuse to dedicate at least an hour a day to writing. I know you can still do it on your own, but it isn't the same.
How many years have you checked in to the NaNo asylum, and yow many years did you escape with your hair intact?
This will be my third year . The first year I finished a few days early with a solid amount over 50K. Last year, I had a slow start, but ended with 51,000 words. I'm hoping to go in better prepared this year. Last year, I woke on Nov. 1st and thought, "Um, what was I going to write again?".
Has any of your NaNo Novels been published? If so, would you like to share a little about your work? (web-site, buy link, cover art) Both of my previous NaNo novels are in various states of revision. So, not published yet. Someday. I hope!
Have you already planned what you’ll write this year? Or, in the case that we’re already knee deep in the insanity, what’s your word count to date? I am a die hard pantser (see the question above about last year's novel). But, I'm hoping to at least have the basic plot and character names( those can slow me down considerably if I let them) before Nov. 1st. I know I won't have an outline, story board or synopsis. Those kind of things make my eye start to twitch.
Any last words to someone just pondering stepping into the NaNo Pool?
Come on in! The water feels great and we are a super-friendly group.
Get involved on the NaNo boards. They can be a wealth of information. Last year, I posted: "Okay, so I need to blow up a boat..." and immediately had several responses about the how's and how-no-to's of incinerating a water craft.
You can also have some NaNo buddies on the website. They are great for pushing you when your fingers start to drag.
Do Word Wars. I had a blast doing those on The Night of Writing Dangerously last year.