Nanowrimo! Nanofimo! Nanoo Nanoo!

So for the last few years, come November, I have been doing my own little version of Nanowrimo called “Nanofimo”—National Novel Finishing Month.

Actually, I rarely actually finish anything in November, but what I try to do is slam a few more thousand words on existing works and get them a little farther along. My work method involves keeping a dozen stories going at any given time, abandoning for months or years, coming back, working on them more.

It works for me. Stuff does get finished. That’s the important bit.

There are authors who get very snooty about Nanowrimo and say things like “Yeah, well, I have to sit down and write every single day because this is my job.” 

To this I say, “Oh, put a sock in it. It’s my job too, and I think it’s awesome.”

I do sit down—when my schedule is not completely travel-destroyed, as it is currently—four days a week and put down a minimum of a thousand words. But November is special and I double down and try to do 2.5K a day and drag out old stuff and say “This doesn’t suck” and throw words at it. (And the next time I drag it out, I have often forgotten that I added to it and am pleasantly surprised.)

And then there’s the corollary, where people say “You know that’s not ALL there is to writing a novel! You still have to edit it!” and I will not insult your intelligence because duh. (Certainly there are people who don’t know this—but I am guessing they do not read writer’s blogs and see all the bits with the weeping and the editing. Heck, the last few DAYS around here…)

Now, if you want inspiration, here’s what I’ve got.

Last year, I sat down and did that, and while I was fooling around trying to make word count, I started a new thing from a vague germ of an idea I was having. I put about twelve thousand words down, poked it a few times over the succeeding months, and finally send it off to my agent with my standard “So there’s thing I’ve been fooling with…”

She sold the book three days later.

It took longer than that to get the details done, of course, and I still had to finish the book, which took a few months, and no contract on earth has ever moved faster than the snail flies, but it’s tentatively scheduled for Spring 2015.

Would I have written it eventually? Probably. Would I have sat down and hammered out as much as I did, if I wasn’t trying to make wordcount for Nano? Probably not. So, y’know. There’s that.

If you like Nanowrimo, if you like Nanofimo, do it. Kick ass, take names, drive your verbs before you and hear the lamentations of their prefixes.

If you finish, great! If not, you still have more than you started with.

 

(I will be starting it when I get back—we have a Disney family vacation next week, which means that if you follow me on Twitter @ursulav there is a good chance you’ll see some Tweets! Of! Interest!)

 

  • reply Jamie ,

    I am so incredibly excited about NaNoFiMo. I know your latest baby is hot off the presses and nothing’s more exhausting than demanding fans who screech for more work to be done as soon as you’ve had eight seconds to relax with a glass of wine. So this is me not screeching, and enjoying myself rereading my cache of blog-published and Sofawolf-published Vernon works. But–I will be terribly excited about NaNoFiMo.

    • reply Wolf Lahti ,

      I personally found NaNoWriMo fun (and more importantly useful) to do once or maybe twice. I then found myself obsessing over word count at the expense of anything else (such as, you know, telling a *story* in readable prose), so I dropped the idea of following it.

      There is, however, something magical in participating in a creative endeavor that tens of thousands of people all over the world are doing at the same time—so my approach has become to ignore word count, not care one whit if I even approach 50k words in 30 days, and simply tap into the flow of inventiveness that permeates the globe in November.

      I don’t have to follow the rules/guidelines of NaNoWriMo proper—it’s not as if I’m going to be paid any more if I do. So I work on whatever I work on, hopefully finish up a work in progress or make healthy inroads into some new project, and only at the end of the month see how many words fell off my fingers onto the page.

      • reply Tom West ,

        NaNoFiMo teaches the most important skill: writing stuff every damn day, not matter what.

        • reply Tom Vinson ,

          I think I’m going to spin off my own version of this–Nafifimo, national filk finishing month. I’ve got at least three unfinished ones kicking around, and I might as well get them done before my voice goes completely.

          • reply Hawk ,

            Doing NanoWrimo this time round myself. I’m doing extremely well – when I do write I tend to write very fast, but in past years it’s been 20 thousand words by the middle of November and then I stall out for two weeks.

            This time? Proud writer of 41 thousand words. Granted that if I had to declare a genre here, it’d be…uh…romance? (That’s being a bit generous maybe. Smut, some might call large sections of it.) But!!! Unusually for me, I have an actual outline! And there’s a plot that vaguely makes sense!

            So I’m keeping on. And I’m still excited about it ten days in (I’m not counting the 1st because that was outline day).

            And I have to say that reading your blog has actually kept me excited about writing. The flailing like a panicked bird in the window is so like my own meltdowns that it makes me feel a smidgin less freakish. Or at least more accepting of my freakishness!

            *hugs*

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