Six Things I Have Learned About Twitter During #NANOWRIMO

34f62-6a00e55098fdaf88330133f52be863970b-320wiIf you are an aspiring novelist you already know what National Novel Writing Month or #NANOWRIMO is. It is a harrowing thirty day adventure where you try to craft a novel of 50,ooo words. Write a complete novel in a month? Who came up with such madness? No doubt it was a writer. Only people such as us can dream up such utter madness!

But here I am, drinking the Kool-Aid for a second straight year. I will be quick to admit that NaNoWriMo ate my lunch last year, as my first attempt ran out of gas at 29,000 odd words. But I learned a lot from the experience and armed with a solid outline I am back for more. I have also picked up some knowledge I want to impart in this blog post. Here are six things I have learned through Twitter.

  1. People want to share their ups and downs with others who will commiserate or celebrate. Let’s face it, if you don’t do this thing called novel writing you cannot hope to understand the strain it puts on a writer. You see we go into bookstores all the time and dream of seeing our name on the front of a book in that shelf. To get to that point however means a lot of days where our success is either invigorating or lack thereof is energy-sucking.
  2. Some people have more time to write than others and trying to keep pace with them is foolish! I read several Twitter posts each day and I knew within a few days I would begin to see fellow novelists boast of being half-way or futher in their 50K journey. But today, on November 4th, I saw someone celebrating their “win”. For those of you not in the madness a “win” is crossing the 50,000 word threshold. I said “SERIOUSLY”, what do you do for a living. many of us have full time jobs and cannot devote the kind of time it would take to write 50,000 words in 4 days.
  3. Being and encourager is desperately needed! As a Christian I have always tried to live within the bounds of something I know as the J.O.Y. Principle, which is explained as Jesus First, Others Second and Yourself Last. So I try my best to read through some Twitter posts, find one with a post that reflects the need for encouragement and have at it. I even began using this hashtag: #Encourageawriter. I hope I can enlist a legion of others to help me make it trend between now and the end of NaNoWriMo2016.
  4. There is no end to the NaNo Tips Posts. Thanks to all of you who are trying to help those of us still cutting our teeth in the business, but who has time to read all these and reach our desired daily word goal? Yes, I realize I am joining this group, but I wanted to share some insight for those interested in the topic but not doing the dance.
  5. Too many people sabotage themselves by trying to get it perfect the first time through. The idea is to get the first 50,000 words assembled within the 30 days of the month of November. No, they may not be part of the final 80,000 or so words when you submit to a publisher, but it is much easier to submit a finished work if you get it started. Editing comes later, not while you are in the midst of NaNoWriMo.So what if you claim the win on November 30th and find yourself on December 15th with a 41,000 word revised manuscript? At least you have created something!
  6. There are so many great writers out there! Everyone I have encountered both last year and this year are just like me, only wanting to enjoy the thrill of a publisher asking to publish our creation. Oh how we will celebrate that day! I am trying to collect a few friends to share my celebration with and who will want to celebrate their success with me.

I am sure there are more Twitter discoveries I will collect during this adventure, but for now this is what I will share. If you want to help me encourage use the hashtag I mentioned above. You may get a nice 140 character thank you note!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NaNoWriMo – The Postmordem

What does it look like to be crushed by an idea you embraced with such excitement and enthusiasm in its buildup? I think the picture that follows can sum up my response.plane

What I envisioned as a 747 arcing across the sky over the month of November headed for at least a 50,000 word beginning of my first published novel instead is holding its place as a 29,039 word beginning. Rest assured I have not thrown in the towel or the landing gear on this quest. But I do know this, 50,000 words in 30 days is a monumental task, one I had known in the preceding years and avoided at all costs. But in 2015 I thought it would be worth the effort. I can say it was not.

I got tied in with NaNoWriMo.org (for free or I would not have done it) and they go to great lengths to try to encourage you and get you involved with other writers. This is all fine and well if you have scads of time to devote to such. But if you intend to tap out the average of 1,667 words per day to stay on pace it leaves little time for anything else. NaNo

I did attend one write in, which is a physical gathering of those taking part in the month long exercise at a local site. With the exception of the two liaisons from the event there was one other writer and myself, so not much opportunity to feel a part of a community. It is true that writing is a solitary adventure and most of your motivation has to come form within, but you would think  writers would jump at the chance to share a brief time with others.

The novel I am in the midst of writing was not the problem, that story is in my head, begging to be transferred to the computer. The issue is the demands of writing it within such a short and yet hectic time period. Consider the holiday that falls within the 30 day period. Then I can add in the fact that I left the country for a week long mission trip. Of course I knew that going in, but in the early days when the enthusiasm was tied to adrenaline I was able to get ahead of the pace and felt I could easily reach the goal.

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So in summary I guess I would say this experience confirmed what I already believed, that NaNoWriMo is not for me. I will finish this novel and get it ready to be published either with a traditional publisher or by publishing it myself through Amazon or another means. It is my greatest desire at his moment after the things that are always bigger priorities (spouse, children, job, etc.). I suppose I will have to try to find another avenue to develop a writer network of friends.

 

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo – Why Do It?

I agree I might be on the edge of doing something totally insane. Okay, maybe not insane, but some kind of crazy. What is it? I am going to commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in a month’s time.

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National Novel Writing Month or #NaNoWriMo as you will se it on all the cool kid’s sites like Twitter Facebook, Instagram et all, is a concentrated effort to get some new book material out of writer’s heads and onto paper, in word processors or wherever people choose to write these days. Amazon, Good Reads and every other online site with any connection to books has to like the concept. I mean, what good is a storefront with nothing to sell?

WHY ARE YOU DOING IT?

I am doing it because over the years I have been writing novel length works I have never been published. Stay with me here, I am going to answer this question, it is just a long answer. There are many phases to writing a book. The preplanning is one, the writing a whole BIG other and then publishing perhaps the biggest of all. So really I am doing it first in hopes that this novel will be the one to kick in the door and get a publisher interested in what I write.

Secondly, again going back to the years I have been writing, I have learned to mentally develop a plot to see if it has the legs to be a full blown story. Sometimes you can have a really good story and well developed plot, but a good sized short story is all you can wring out of it. Have no illusion, writing a 75,000 word novel is no walk in the park. The #NaNoWriMo only asks 50,000, which will be tough enough in thirty days.

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The plot I chose to develop has been rolling around in my head for nearly three years. Usually within that amount of time if the plot does not continue to develop you know it has to be trashed. This one has only continued to grow and become more interesting. I feel like I would be passing up on the best choice of my working ideas if I let it go.

WILL YOU HAVE THE TIME?

Whoo! That is a good question. November is a busy month for everyone. I mean it is basically the start of the holiday season. Once you get to the last week, with Thanksgiving, you get into the Christmas slide and time seems to enter an accelerator of some type. AS a matter of fact, I will be departing the U.S.A. for an international mission trip on the 27thof November and with Thanksgiving the day before I am mentally giving myself 25 days to pull this off. I may have some time while away to finish things, but I want to plan as if I don’t.

WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO JOIN THIS YEAR?

I need a jump start in my writing and there is nothing like a new project to do that. The excitement of building out characters, setting, Plot and basically the whole ball of wax is invigorating. Pair that with a partner (my wife) that is willing to read and critique and you have a pretty good incentive.

I am also excited about the promised partnering of the folks at the #NaNoWriMo web site. They have developed there involvement so much that they have different regions of the country and groups for each along with coaches and liaisons to assist if you need. I would love to meet other writers/authors, especially those from my local area.

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WILL YOU KEEP YOUR READERS UPDATED ON YOUR PROGRESS?

Well, there will be a couple fo ways to do this actually. NaNoWriMo.org has several links that will report your progress back to your website or blog. I have inserted these in the right margin of two of my blogs: (1) In the flagship blog, Joe’s Musings. (2) I included it on the Fiction Playground blog. This is where the majority of my blog traffic comes in. I have other blogs, but they just do not get the same amount of attention from me or visitors.

So, taking the time to make this little post has equaled around 750 words or 38% of what I will have to create each day to make the 50,000 word goal. I hope you will cheer me on, encourage and wait breathlessly (while breathing of course) to see if I can cross the line with the thousands of others taking this challenge.