Thursday, October 29, 2009

so who else is doing NaNo?

Just curious.

I know it has its pros and cons, and it works for some people at this point in their writing, and just doesn't work at all for others.

You guys have thoughts on NaNo? Oo, how about a poll?
For those who are participating (or have participated) in NaNo, which best describes your goals?
To write a novel and get it published!
To write a draft of a novel, which maybe will go somewhere, maybe not
The daily word goals are just good for me to bully myself into writing; I don't plan to actually finish a whole novel or anything
I just like the cameraderie of writing with other writers; I don't even really care about the word count goals
ugg boots


If you have thoughts not represented in the poll options, please leave them in the comments! It's not a very good poll. Mainly, I wanted to use a poll function, because I haven't in a couple weeks. And I like pressing buttons and seeing pretty colors.

63 comments:

MeganRebekah said...

I like the push and focus of Nano, and the fact that I have someone to report to, and be accountable to, throughout this writing journey.

My goal is to finish my novel in November, then edit it a hundred times over, then start querying.

Cathryn said...

No NaNo for me, but I'll be cheering for a few fellow writers.

November is the month I finish the final edit (not to be confused with the upcoming polishing) of my novel!

Bailish said...

I get a charge out of the thought of having so many people come together during November and encouraging each other to complete the word counts. The positive energy is contagious, and it carries over for a few months after that.

I don't expect my novel to be finished during November, but establishing good writing habits is enough for me.

Aimee States said...

I'm a huge NaNo fan. This is my fifth year and I predict my third win. If nothing else I think it helps me refocus. It couldn't come at a better time of year for me, either. I write my way through the winter doldrums until spring.

Charles Gramlich said...

No time for me.

alisha said...

I'd never heard of NaNo, but I think I'm going to try it this year. It sounds like a great idea and I love bullying myself to achieve a goal.

Jacqui said...

Is there an "I love having a month of freedom to write crap" poll response? Because for me, that's the best part.

WendyCinNYC said...

I'd like to because--ack!-- I have a ton to do. It's just that the first half of Nov will be filled to the brim with non-writing life stuff.

Good luck, NaNoers!

Anonymous said...

I typically bite my tongue around NaNo time because my opinion is not very popular and usually unleashes a torrent of brimstone and hatred. But what the hell:

I think NaNoWriMo encourages people to think that writing is easy and doesn't do enough to encourage revision or thought on craft.

There's no National Brain Surgery Month, encouraging amateurs to try their hand at brain surgery. Is it ludicrous to compare writing a novel to brain surgery? Perhaps. But the point remains: writing is an art and I believe the suggestion that anyone can do it by pooping out 'x' number of words undermines the beauty of that art.

I'm all about Anne Lamott's theory of shitty first drafts. But I'd love to see how Advil consumption amongst editors and agents goes up in the months following NaNoWriMo as they're deluged by manuscripts that "I wrote last month during NaNoWriMo" and they're all unedited, unconsidered pieces of poo.

Why isn't there a NaNoReMo (National Novel Revising Month) to encourage the people who have crappy drafts to sit down and think about what they've done and try to make it better?

I know. My opinion is very unpopular and I fully expect to be villified for expressing it. I know that all writers have to start somewhere and I know that a portion of NaNo participants WILL actually sit down and revise and maybe actually produce something destined for publication. But I think NaNo does more harm than good in the end.

Malanie Wolfe said...

I have never done it before, sounds fun and productive!

Lydia Sharp said...

I've never had a desire to do this, but if it works for you, go for it.

Lindsey Himmler said...

What I love about Nano is that I get to put away my inner critic for a while. I think it's just good for my psyche.

Annon (9:53): I would like to think the majority of Nano writers DON'T rush to submit things. I'd be curious to see what the actual stats are from an agent or editor's perspective. However, much like brain surgery, I do believe writing is something you only get better by doing...but that doesn't mean your first attempt is worthy of being anything but practice.

fairyhedgehog said...

Anon: there is a National Novel Editing Month. I think it's March.

My husband has done the London to Brighton bike ride (around 50 miles, with hills!) but he's not going to become a professional cyclist. I love Nano but I know that churning out 50,000 words of mostly crap doesn't make me a novelist! It's fun though.

I do feel for the editors etc. who have to deal with people who haven't realised that. Thankfully, although they might get headaches it's not as bad as DIY brain surgery.

onefinemess said...

I keep meaning to do it, but I'm halfway through a book right now, so switching gears and starting something else really wouldn't work for me.

I'm going to try and time something for next year though...

Anonymous said...

I love NaNoWriMo! I've completed three novels in the four years I've participated. Only one of those novels has the potential to go anywhere, and I've been revising it for two years. (I'm slow!)

November is my month to explore new genres. Usually they are all YA, but one year it was a murder mystery, one year was a coming of age type story. One year, my first year, was the first time I ever had a character cuss. Sounds strange and stupid to some of you, but it was a big deal for me.

wandering1

Adam Heine said...

I like the idea of NaNo, but I have yet to do it. I barely have time to squeeze out 10 thousand words in a month, let alone 50.

Anon: I get what you're saying, and I can't say some people don't do NaNo and then go around saying they're novelists. But that's really missing the point. NaNo, as I understand it, is about getting all those people who wish they could write but think it's too hard to push through the hard part (the first draft) and discover it is possible.

Actually, that's exactly what they say on the website: "NaNoWriMo is... for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved." They add, "Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap."

Adam Heine said...

That was to the first Anon. 9:53.

Carolyn said...

I have a book due June 1 and it would be awesome if I had 50K of it done by Dec 1. My typical words per day goal is 1,000 so I'm hoping I can bump that by 667.

I used to believe I needed a year to write a book. Then I accepted a contract for a book I had to deliver in 4 months. What an eye-opening, career changing experience. I did it (because I had to!) and boy did I learn a lot about myself, my writing and what I could actually do.

I'm hoping NaNoWriMo this year will teach me a bit more about what I think I can do and what I can actually do.

Miriam S.Forster said...

I'm a rebel this year and I'm using Nano to finish a book I started before we moved. I'd like to get it published at some point, but that's a rough draft and many rewrites off.

CKHB said...

I love NaNoWriMo! The cameraderie is awesome, the mad sprint for the finish helps shut up my (very loud) inner editor, and it builds good habits for getting the butt in the chair.

I've never "won", but my 2005 NaNo project is currently being submitted to agents, and I've gotten a lot of requests for partials and fulls, and that book WOULD NOT have been written without NaNo jumpstarting my writing, so I am eternally grateful to Chris Baty.

ella144 said...

This is my first year of Nano.

I'm hoping to get an idea fleshed out that's been hoping around my brain for a few months. All I know is the beginning and the end. I'm hoping Nano will help me find the middle.

(Shameless request to friend me on nano)

Annette Lyon said...

In theory, I'd love to do NaNo someday--it just always hits at the wrong time for me. I just finished a whopper of a deadline. Any day I should be getting edits on my next novel, and I should (I say "should" because I'm wiped and can't get myself to move) be doing revisions on another. The very IDEA of doing NaNo on top of all that? Hahahahahaa!

I imagine it would be a great experience to pound out that many words so fast. It just ain't happening this year. Or last. Or the year before . . .

DMBeucler said...

I'm doing the cheater version. I have a start already and about 5-10K already written. I'm going to try for the word count and to get 50K new words onto my draft but I'm not counting it as actual Nano since I don't think it will be completed by Dec 1.

Valerie said...

I'm doing it. I voted that my goal was to get it published because that's my writing goal in general, but I don't expect to have anywhere near a publishable ms at the end of the month.

This is my first time doing it, and I decided to give it a try for two reasons. One, I've had an idea nagging at me for months, and two, because I know I produce better work if I stay focused on the story and get it all out in a relatively short amount of time.

I'm hoping to end up with a solid, complete draft that I can sink my teeth into revising.

Steph Damore said...

NaNo fell at the perfect time for me this year so I'm doing it. I fully see anon @ 9:53's point too and I spent yesterday and today blogging about
it here.

Personally, I'm not on board with the whole mindset of writing 50,000 words worth of crap because to me that's a waste of time. But I do like the camaraderie with fellow writers and setting goals.

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm participating as a distraction exercise from a first draft I just finished. But I also have other goals:
To train myself not to edit as I write, you know, "Don't get it right, get it written."

And since I'm rewriting a Grimm's fairy tale, I can focus on character and motivation and not worry about plot so much.

Then I'll be ready to revise my current WiP in December.

Cid said...

I abandoned my writing goals in favor of going to college for a real degree and I sorely regret ever having stopped writing for fun. I'm excited about NaNo pushing me to write something original and completely on my own again. Who knows where I'll go with it?

The Sesquipedalian said...

I thought about jumping on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon, but I'm at a point in my WIP where I really need to knuckle down. No need for another diversion when life hands me plenty of those as it is.

Amalia T. said...

I really like the camaraderie, but primarily for me National Novel Writing Month is about Daily writing, and developing and reinforcing that discipline. If I get a draft pounded out, Awesome, but if I don't, I still reinforced my daily writing habit! But, it seems that the average time it takes for me to power through my first drafts is usually about 6 weeks, anyway, so it isn't much of a challenge anymore to go for the 50K :(

Heidi C. Vlach said...

I'm fairly sure I'm doing NaNo! My answer is sort of "all of the above", but I'm mostly doing it for that prodding with a sharp stick regarding wordcount. I just won't beat myself up too badly if I don't make 50k exactly.

Ulysses said...

My thoughts on NaNoWriMo are here.

I sha'n't be participating simply because 50K words in a month would put such a hole in my schedule that I'd have to give up revisions, relations and sleep.

But I wish well to those of you who have committed to the challenge.

Anna Claire said...

The past couple of years, I've used NaNoWriMo to write more for a novel I was taking absolutely seriously.

Now I feel like I need a break from worrying about if what I'm writing will appeal to an agent/editor/the public so I'm just spending the month writing a silly novel for fun. It'll be back to the grindstone come December.

DTB said...

I have decided this year to give it a try (only because you mentioned it so I remembered it was going on). But I'm a little scared and confused. I guess I'll figure it out!

The Rejectionist said...

We're in if you are.

Matt Heppe said...

I'm going to use it to force myself to finish editing my manuscript. I've been so close to done for far too long. Must get it done and start firing off the query letters!

Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm mostly in revisions, so have signed up with friends for what I'm calling NaNoWhaMo (Wha = whatever). Have chapter goals rather than word goals.

The one time I did the NaNo, I was curious to see if I could write 50K words in 30 days. Learned a lot about myself, my writing style, my writing blunders. Also burned myself out for several months.

It helped me find my voice and debunked the myth of writer's block (which only exists if I'm trying to write quality).

Sarah said...

I'm sort of hijacking NaNoWriMo. I need to finish the crazy different rewrite of a novel I've been working on. So I'm using NaNoWriMo as a way to spur me on. I tend to edit way too much when writing that first draft, so pushing through and just getting words on paper is really good for me.

This is the first year I've been part of it, mainly because I'd been revising something else. This year, it suits what I need to get done.

I think as long as folks realize what they do in NaNoWriMo is a first draft, it's okay. It would make me cringe if someone simply ran a spell check and then submitted their work...

Natasha Fondren said...

It IS a very pretty poll, Moonrat!

NaNo, to me, is about breaking free of my fears, trying a new genre, forcing myself out of my normal writing approaches.

The beauty of NaNo is it gives you permission to write crap, but I don't buy into the belief that everything--or even most of what--one produces in NaNo is crap. First of all, 1667 words a day is not that much if you're approaching this as a career. One can write 5K a day and it wouldn't be crap, if you have the time.

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

Shh--I'm using Nano to push myself to finish the WIP that's been languising. I won't "win" but that's not my goal anyway.

writtenwyrdd said...

I like NaNo for the completely arbitrary deadline pressure it provides. Amazing how a little deadline pressure can motivate me!

I buddy listed you on NaNo.

Jael said...

I picked "write a novel and get it published", but there are a bunch of intermediate steps between the two... I just want to put down a fast first draft of a new project before I have to get back to revisions for my editor. The faster I put down the bones, the more time I have to go back later and put flesh on 'em. That's what NaNo is great for: bones.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I'm going to WriMo this year, having never done it before. I figure I can re-visit some old characters and see if I can cook up something new.

Susan at Stony River said...

I've done NaNo for seven years; the last two years I was even ML.

THIS year, I'm going to finally edit and finish at least one of the many November novels I've written! LOL I do a lot of writing but not a lot of finishing, and the older I get the more I want to change that habit.

So, No Mo' NaNoWriMo...
:-(

wonderer said...

This will be my fifth time. My first year was the first time I finished a novel after being derailed by university (studying English lit and writing genre didn't mix well, for me anyway). After that, I was hooked.

I voted "to write a novel and get it published", but I have no illusions about the quality of the draft I'll have on December 1. I'm still editing my 2006 NaNo novel.

However, NaNo is my favourite way to get through a first draft, for all the reasons others have noted - the deadline, the camaraderie, the ability to (temporarily) bury your inner editor.

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

I write differently than everyone else, because what I'm writing comes from spirit. Its like having a conversation. I've recorded myself speaking while in a trance like state (similar to Edgar Cayce), and then used the material for a novel. This time I'm going straight to the writing. My goal is as many words as possible, and I know by the end I'll have enough material for a novel.

Funluvinchick said...

I voted for "Get it published" and, too, am not disillusioned by the fact that this will just be a first draft. For me it's about pulling myself out of a rut and finding motivation to write again. For me it's about proving that I can, in fact, write and that I DO have new ideas. For me it's about getting over the hump of "Not enough time" "I'm too busy" "I'll do it next time" etc.

I'm really excited to participate and do it correctly. I've been rehearsing my idea in my head so when Nov. 1 hits I'll have a great start (I don't want to cheat and start early because that defeats my own point).

No way will this novel be worthy to be published for awhile, but I agree with Jael--it's a great way to set out the bones of the body then get it fleshed out later.

Cheryl said...

See that response about writing with other writers? I'm taking that literally this year.

I've done and won NaNo a few times and since I'm working seriously on a novel right now I don't want the temptation to start something new or mess this one up*.

So this year my friends and I are doing NaNo round-robin style. That way each of us only has to make the NaNo word count once a week and we get to have some fun doing it.

_________

* My optimum word count per day is about 800. Pushing for 1667 words a day leads to me writing more of an outline than a novel. This project is too important to me for that.

Carradee said...

I intend to do it this year. There's a novel I've poked at every so often for years, but I've always lacked the skill to write it. I'll be using NaNoWriMo (Lord willing) to write it and all its backstory and forestory (it's a framed narrative), so I can work out transitions and which scenes to include and omit, later.

NaNoWriMo doesn't necessarily produce crap. I participated last year, losing due to lost computer access in the last few days, but tallied 48k words. Most of them were scenes that I still consider decent if not good. I wrote without any planning, though, so the plot suffered—which is normal for me. Plots take a lot of work. I also need to build the world more solidly.

Raethe said...

I'm using NaNo to get started on a novel that I'm certain won't be finished in 50,000 words but hey, that's a pretty decent start.

It's also a fantastic way to get into the habit of writing, and I enjoy competition.

WV: untotali. Un-totally what?

Linda said...

I'm using NaNo to make more headway on last year's NaNo novel, which ended up being mostly (necessary) prewriting. but hey - a word's a word.

I write every day, at least 500 words at every sitting, so the wc is not a huge deal for me. But NaNo allows me to put aside every other project for a month and send the inner editor for a much-needed vacation.

Moonie, you doing it again this year? Peace, Linda

pacatrue said...

I'd love to do NaNo, but I think I'd be idiotic to do so, since I'm supposed to do a dissertation instead.

For Anon 9:53's comments, I fully understand them. I think of doing NaNo as going to a barn dance, while working on the craft of writing is akin to taking instruction from the Royal Ballet. Surely, some people who kick it up in the barn, think they're ready to try out for the Kirov when they are not, but that doesn't mean the barn dance doesn't have its place as does the Royal Ballet.

Some people will discover at the barn dance that they love dancing and later pursue it as a career. Most won't. And that's fine. The barn dance is its own experience and not just minor league for the real dancing.

Tee said...

I watched all the crazymaking from the sidelines for five years, but this year had enough of a novel project idea congealed that I jumped on the wagon.

Frankly I think I'm just curious how I - with two teenagers, two dogs, three cats, a new husband, a full-time copywriting career and a bad case of nomadism - will handle the push.

Brigitte said...

Nano got me to Chapter 15 of my current WIP last year. Consolidating and rethinking chapters after Nano I am at Chapter 14 of same WIP this year. My thoughts now are sure you can keep up with word count and write crap but eventually you have to edit. This year I will not enter Nano and focus on finishing and polishing.

sylvia said...

I'm doing it for the camaraderie and to bully myself into a word count. I'm actually only going halfway (targetting 25,000) on a novel that I've done the first part of already.

Pushing through a first draft is hard and writing is such a solitary thing - I decided it makes sense to tap into the energy of this event even if I'm not actually doing it in the traditional way.

I don't really buy the "lack of quality/substance" argument because it is MUCH easier to edit a bad draft than to stare at a blank page. Having said that, part of the reason I'm doing the lesser wordcount is so that I'm not tempted to just put in drivel to get through the day. :)

skygrazer/Christy said...

Response to Anonymous - There IS a month for rewriting your novel; a good follow up for NaNoWriMo'ers.

National Novel Editing Month takes place in March every year. Participants are encouraged to spend 50 hours editing a completed work.

www.nanoedmo.net/

Rachel Aaron said...

I'm doing NaNo for the first time ever... which is odd because this is my 4th book and the last book for my 3 book contract. BUT, I'm pregnant and my baby is due a month before my book deadline, so I need to get this sucker done early. I figured hey, why not jump on the GO GO GO bandwagon?

NaNoWriMo, not just for new writers!

Lyn Miller-Lachmann said...

I voted for the daily word count and would add "the freedom to write crap." This one is for the back of the drawer, to keep my starter novel company. I've had success in getting things published but at this point I write too slowly to make it a full-time career. Perhaps I'll learn how to pick up the pace this month.

Kate said...

Me me me!

I all over that license to write crap stuff. I'm normally a measure-fifty-times-cut-once sort of gal, which is useful for virtually everything except completing the first draft of a novel.

To my knowlege, no amount of preparation or thoughtfulness has ever, in the entire history of novel writing, yielded a great first draft. Preparation and thoughtfullness are for revision, and part of the preparation required for revision is having a first draft to revise. Cart, meet Horse.

Anyway, this is the thinking with which I enter NaNoWriMo. I'll be blogging my progress. Good luck everyone!

Nancy said...

I'm in too, Moonie, for all 50,000. Maybe this year I'll make my word count.

The Novelist said...

Maybe I will be ready to participate in NaNo next year. I am a long ways off right now....sigh....

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Wow, my option is not even on the poll! My option would be:

to hastily write a crap draft of an already sold novel about blood, beaches and kisses (that's not actually due until September), before I have to get back to the business of writing the final SHIVER book which is actually due March 1st and thus would be a way better candidate for NaNo though the annoyingly and supposedly candid and insightful nature of that series' prose makes writing one of those books fast DAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE.

If you added that to the poll, then yes, I'm delighted to say that I am indeed NaNoing this year. Just broke 5K words.

Juniper said...

I'm using NaNoWriMo to edit my novel. That counts, right?
Completion's the thing for me.

_*Rachel*_ said...

It's actually kind of all of them.

Sorry if I'm not around much this month... I had to *sob* cut something so I would stop procrastinating.