Ramping up for NaNoWriMo 2011

30 10 2011

Astute readers of my last post will have read, close to the bottom, a word that they probably have never seen or heard before: NaNoWriMo.

Don’t worry about it, 10 days ago I had never heard of this word either. But that was before I went to a writers’ conference, where each of the 800 participants was talking about it like it was some kind of holy grail.

Nano what? Nanotechnology? No, that’s something different. Nanoseconds? Uh-uh.

NaNoWriMo is “National Novel Writing Month,” also known as “November”. The movement was founded in the San Francisco Bay Area (where most of the world’s great, innovative and ground-breaking things tend to be founded) 12 years ago as a challenge to get people to sit down and write. Just write. Not edit, or research, or read, or rewrite, but WRITE.

Yup, I'm in!

The goal is to put 50,000 words down on paper (or a computer screen) during the 30 days of the month. For those who are wondering, that is a tall order, even for folks who do this kind of thing all the time. Sure I can bang out a blog post of 400-600 words in maybe an hour or so.  But NaNoWriMo will demand a much higher level of proliferation (folks also sometimes call this “verbal diarrhea” or “literary vomit”) and most of all, discipline.

50,000 words means a daily tally of 1,667 words, for 30 days straight. That is more than three blog posts. Every day.

That is like running a marathon each day for a month. I would be pretty sick and tired of running after that, I think. Of course, my hips and knees will have called a strike halfway through.

I’m sure by the end of November, I will be sick and tired of words, and my computer screen, and my keyboard, and that damn voice in my head, and that devil sitting on my shoulder. Am hoping my fingers, wrists and nerves survive to see the end of it too.

But the good thing about NaNoWriMo is exactly that – the deadlines, the pressure, and not wanting to give up because nobody wants to be a quitter.

The organizers have a great website with motivational strategies to fight the beast that will beset each and every one of us sooner or later…. the beast called: “There-Are-A-Million-Other-Things-I-Must-Do-Right-This-Very-Second-That-Just-Can’t-Wait”. Organized write-ins will up the peer pressure and make sure participants are not just staring at a blinking cursor on a blank computer screen for three hours a day.

The Zurich write-ins are at a local Starbucks. I see my caffeine intake peaking.

By virtue of the fact that I am telling you about this means I am making a silent and solemn pledge that I will finish the project to the best of my ability. And I’m basically unemployed now, so hey, I have the time. Maybe I could cheat and include blog posts in the 50,000 word total. In the end, I think any sort of writing is accepted by the kind folks in Berkeley. They are a tolerant people.

So for the next 48 hours I will go away and mentally prepare myself for my month of marathons. I have no idea yet what I will write, or about whom. In any case, at the end of it, I will be 50,000 words and one fascinating life experience richer. What I do with all that remains to be seen.

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5 responses

30 10 2011
The Fish Screamer

NaNo is a bucket of fun. Maybe even two buckets, if they are not unweidly. Good luck hitting 50k!

I’m doing NaNo for the tenth time this year, and I have absolutely no clue what I’m doing yet. It might wind up being 50,000 words of stand-up and sketch comedy, with some short fiction thrown in for good measure.

30 10 2011
Evelynn Starr

Thanks, Fishscreamer! I admire your endurance. If you have done it 9 times already, that means you have at least 450,000 words to your credit. Wow. I am totally awed. Good luck yourself!!

30 10 2011
kiwikar

Zürich?! That means you are so far the person closest to me who also does NaNoWriMo! Congratulations! Are you going to be writing in German then? I decided it would be a greater challenge to write in English…Let’s see how that turns out. 😀
Add me as a writing buddy! My nickname is Kiwikar.

30 10 2011
kiwikar

Oh wait, you’re not from Swizerland, are you? So you’re writing in English I guess?

30 10 2011
Evelynn Starr

Hello there Kiwikar – I will add you as a writing buddy! I’m not FROM Switzerland, but I live here. And yes, I will be writing in English. I can write in German too, but no way I would get down 50,000 German words in a month. 🙂

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