Friday, October 29, 2010

NaNoWriMo: NoNoMoi

I need to hand out a few Thank Yous and give some splats to a contest before I get to my post.

I want to give a major MERCI to Pk Hrezo. She has a smashing blog, Chronicle of an Author at Large. She highlighted me in one of her posts. I'm humbled and grateful, and she brought me a few new Alleywalkers! Welcome! Glad you've joined us. AND I must thank Shannon Mayhew of Random Thoughts for awarding Writers' Ally the Lovely Blog Award.

Make sure to check out my friend Susan's blog for her Back From Hiatus Contest. She's giving away some great books! And just a reminder about my short story contest. I have plenty who have entered but haven't received many entries. Please get those to me so my daughter and I can read them. If I don't receive enough, I'll award the entries I have.


Before I started Writers' Ally about nine months ago, I'd never heard of NaNoWriMo. I hadn't heard of NaNoBlogMo or Natalie Whipple's self-proclaimed NaNoReaMo, either. I remember the first few times I ran across the NaNo phrase and thought it was some sort of grammar no-no. Or worse. Maybe there was a special place for those grammar violators, like the naughty chair.

Come to find out it was neither, as most of you know I'm sure. Fully impressed by such a devoted process, I told myself that I would participate this year. I even set up one of those author pages and downloaded my cover and brief logline. You see it in my right sidebar. My next love: Disorderly Compact.

Then I attended MuseCon two weeks ago. It changed my mind. Not that NaNoWriMo is bad. On the contrary, it's a great activity to devote oneself. But from what I learned at a few of my workshops and from reading some wonderful posts online, a writer shouldn't just jump into NaNoWriMo with both feet. One should have a plan.

It's a valiant gesture to commit yourself to writing an entire novel (50,000+ words) in a month. To take a mere idea, formulate and nurture it in 25 to 30 days is a feat. But what happens if you fail? Is there some NaNo god somewhere who will hold you responsible? Will your peers NaNo you in shame?

Probably not, but will all that effort help you?

We write because we love it. You may decide to write a poem just for fun. Or maybe you want to write up a story for a young kid's birthday. Both of these have reasons; one is for fun, the other is a gift. Both have purpose. If you're participating in NaNoWriMo, I'm sure one of your purposes is to complete a manuscript. But I'm also sure by participating that you are serious about honing your craft.

From some of the posts that I've read, a lot of writers write like mad dogs during this event. Awesomesausesome! But more than not, writers end up doing nothing with the work they produced or they spend the next year editing over and over and over. There was no focus or rode mapped out before the writing began. Some get lost in the confusion of scenes and holes in the story and end up starting over anyway. I'm sure you don't want that. Your time and effort is valuable.

Now, I'm all for brainstorming or mind mapping. Just read my article HERE. But if I'm going to write for a month nonstop, concentrating on one story, than I better get something out of it. For me, everything I write, read, and observe is to hone my skills as a writer. And I want that for you, too.

I'm sure NaNoWriMo can be a great writing experience and learning tool, so here's some of the advice I've heard.
  1. Brainstorm your ideas BEFORE you being.
  2. If at all possible, write up an outline or at the very least a sketch of your ideas.
  3. Envision scenes and jot them down.
  4. Even better, write up a synopsis.
  5. AND of course, eat chocolate!! You've got to do that.
AS you may have guessed, I've opted out of participating this year. I was fortunate enough at MuseCon to fully plot out DISORDERLY COMPACT; however, I still don't feel I have enough scene ideas to fill all the gaps and get to my goal of completion. 

So, during November, I'll be silently participating and keeping track right here in the Alleyway. If anyone wants to join me, sweet! Just head over to get a NaNoWordMeter and paste it on your site. (If you don't have a site, keep track at home.) Then, each of the four Wednesdays, we'll meet in the IMPETUS ROOM at the top of Writers' Ally and share our progress. 

Good Luck!

For those who are participating in this year's NaNoWriMo, I wish you the best of luck and productivity. For those who are not, let's just keep writing.

Sheri OUT! ~


  1. I couldn't agree more. While I applaud people who attempt it, writing 50k in 30 days is not for me. I've written that in about 5 weeks, but on my own schedule with my own inspiration.

    If you have a chance, stop by my blog. I'm having a Halloween Haunting from 10/28-11/1. Enter to win a prize!

  2. as i said, with most of my writing i just go all out with no plan at all. i'm sticking with that methodology. i think it's more fun that way, more challenging, and besides, i really have no idea what is going to happen, and i like it that way. haha

  3. Sheri,
    Well stated! I'm not participating either, November being a difficult month -- report cards, parent conferences, etc -- for teachers. I *will* be writing during November, but not at that kind of pace.

    Over the course of the summer, I wrote around 60,000 words in The Caged Graves between the end of June and then end of August. That's about as fast as I can go when I had all day to write.

    The day job slows me down a bit (ha, ha).

  4. Hi! Thanks for visiting Project Mayhem!

    I agree with your post, and I think it's great. I'm also not naNoing, but mainly because I don't need to. I make time every day for my writing, regardless. I don't need some crazy month of overcompensating to do it.

    Thanks again for visiting!

  5. Thank you. I felt like I was the only one not participating. I'm in the middle of revisions/ re writes and I can't take my focus off of it. Plus, it took me six months to write 90k. It is my first full novel and I'm learning as I go so I guess I have to think about that.
    I only have so much time a day, when I'm lucky. I'm with ya.

  6. I'm with you, Sheri. I have my new project already preplanned and have about 10 000 words aready written, but I'm not doing NaNo because I want to work on my current wip and not start a new one yet. :)

    Plus, trying to get in 50 000 words in one month might mean you're putting in a lot more filler words than you have to. You know, like in high school when you had to write a 2000 word essay on something and you didn't have enough facts to fill that requirement. ;)

  7. I'm sitting out this year--I'm ripping apart my WIP instead (thanks to an agent's critique and some great crit partners' feedback). Going for quality over quantity next month, LOL!

  8. I don't blame you at all. It's nice just to write without the pressure. It just so happened that I had an idea ready to go and burnt out on revisions from my previous ms. NanNo comes at a perfect time to flesh it out.
    But i'd never go in blind and just start writing. I know some write like that. I have to have a full outline and character sketches. If I don't guide myself I get off track.
    I do think it's cool that writers around the globe are focusing on it all at the same time.

    Thanks for the shout out! You were totally deserving of it! Good luck on Disorderly Compact!

  9. I'm so happy to see a few of you share my views. I fully believe 'to each his own', and this is just not 'my own' this year. Not really sure if it every would me. I love the concept. My first (horrific) novel took me 9 months to write. The second took me three weeks; it just flowed from a simple, skeletal outline I had mapped out.

    @PK - oh, thank you. Good luck to you, too!

  10. Nano is for some people, but it's not for everyone. Me, I love it. One of my nano stories I found an epublisher for - Woman of Honor. The other stories I still have to finish but I will (eventually). For me, nano has been such a great experience and I've grown so much as a novelist because of it. It pushes me to new levels of productivity, and I now write much cleaner and faster than I did before I started.

    That said, I'll repeat that nano isn't for everyone.

  11. I definitely think having a plan is a good idea. And there is something for everyone, so if you don't NaNo, that's fine!

  12. hi miss sheri! im not a nanoer either. im way too much busy with other stuff. besides i gotta share the computer with my 4 brothers and one sister so mostly i write in the kitched with a pencil and notebook. yikes! how slow is that! for me i dont like rules so much so it could be real hard to write so much words every day. mostly i just write when i got something to say that just is yelling at me write it down lenny! :) i hope you have a real fun weekend.
    ...happy halloween hugs from lenny

  13. I won't lie, it grates my nerves to hear some people talk about these ridiculous "cheats" to get the word count up. The point is to quiet the internal editor a bit, not to write absolute drivel. Then again, a large majority who participate are more toying with the idea of writing a novel than actually writing one.

    For me, I've spent so much time in the revision stage recently, I need this kick in the pants to get myself back into writing mode.

    Good luck to everyone in November, whether you're writing for NaNo or just yourself!!

  14. November is just too busy for me. My projects don't have much steam until January usually.
    great post! You are one busy person...

  15. I like NaNo as a reason to write, but I dislike the arbitrary goal of 50kw in 30 days.

    Go write, and write something worth reading. Set some goals -- we all need goals. Use NaNo's if you can't set your own goals, or do what you know you're capable of doing.

    It's all about setting a goal and trying to hit it.

    But be realistic. Please.

    - Eric

  16. I can't help it. Now I hear Dory from Nemo singing in my head, "Just keep writing! Just keep writing! Just keep writing, writing, writing!" :-)

  17. Thanks for posting this. Reading through your post and the comments made me feel better that there is no time with working for me to participate and accomplish so much in a month. Even if I was organized and had a super planned out idea. I'm glad I'm not alone in not feeling it's for me.

  18. For someone who is not NaNoing, you sure have great advice. I am not NaNoing either.

  19. I'm not doing NaNo either...I'll be wearing my NaNo sweatshirt from last year and getting "my room" in I can write in peace...

    Have a wonderful week!

  20. Thanks so much for the shout-out!

    I'm not doing NaNo, either, but someday I might. If I do, I'll have to have a detailed outline in place (I can't write anything without an outline anyway, I get lost too easily.) :)

  21. great post Sheri, I'm concentrating on finishing my wip so no nano for me.

  22. Great tips, especially the chocolate. This month I'll try to wrap up two wips.


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