Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why Am I Doing This?

This year, I’ve enlisted some of my writing buddies to help me blog about the wonderful/frustrating experience that is NaNoWriMo. This is Mandy, a Wrimo I met three years ago. She has since become our wonderful Municipal Liason. That's NaNo speak for saying she's an awesome volunteer who runs all our meetings.

There are many answers as to why one should participate in National Novel Writing Month. Some people do it because they have always wanted to write a novel, stumbled upon this website that offers a free challenge with tons of support and decided to go for it. Some people are seasoned writers using the November challenge to push themselves. Others just love the thrill of the insane deadline. But I think nearly all NaNoWriMo participants do it for a second reason: because it is FUN.

There will probably times this month where you will wonder why you are even doing this. You may be behind on word count, your characters are dragging their feet and refuse to do what you ask them to do, and your saving grace (the coffee pot) might have stopped working on you. Whenever you are in a slump and you don't know what to write and you feel like you'll never catch up and you're completely stuck, remember why you are doing this. You are doing this to have fun! Pick yourself up, dust off your knees and make something crazy happen in your story!

Do something fun and unexpected, even if it makes absolutely no sense to your plot! One of the worst things you can do for your novel is to stop writing it. So push through the blocks by adding ninjas, or pirates. Introduce a crazy uncle with Tourettes who makes everyone uncomfortable, or have your characters attacked by a swarm of zombified birds. Do whatever it takes to keep your story alive! Hopefully, whatever outrageous thing you add will eventually bring your characters out of the darkness and into the light of a flowing scene. Plus, putting characters through insane situations might cause you to learn something about them that you didn't know before!

It's very important that you don't worry about what other people might think or say about your novel in its current state. Don't discount your ideas just because you think other people might not like them, or might find stupid. Most ideas are worth trying out at least once! Remember: December is National Novel Editing Month. That's when you can edit out the parts with the ninjas and the crazy birds. You might be surprised with what you have left. You might be even more surprised that the story works with zombie birds. The point of NaNoWriMo, ultimately, is that you write. And that you have fun while you are writing. Maybe by the end of November you won't have the Next Great American Novel. But you will have 50,000 words that you wrote, and you will have had fun writing them!

This is Mandy's fourth attempt at NaNoWriMo. She has won three years previously, twice with a final word count of 100k. She is currently a student at Pitt Community College and hopes to obtain a bachelor degree in Zoology from NC State. She dreams of one day becoming a children's book author and illustrator, as well as a wildlife rehabilitator. She has trained for two marathons and ran one last October. She lives with her husband, dog, eleven cats, and a marsupial out on the bleak and rugged tundra of the North Pole. She also owns and runs an Etsy shop in which she sells a variety of handmade woodland-creature-related gifts. Check it out here.

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