Monday, November 09, 2009

NaNoWriMo (or What The H*ll Have I Signed Up For?)

Yep, it is that time of the year again. November is National Novel Writing Month, and some of the Playfriends are participating at various levels. Keep a watch on the sidebar to see our totals as they grow.

For myself, I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking when I signed up. I’ve been struggling at the computer for about 6 months now, the motivation to get words on the page having hightailed it into the darkness of the night. Motivation is a huge part of being a writer. We start writing because we are moved to create something outside ourselves from the voices and stories overrunning our brains. We get to the page every day because that same drive pushes us to do so. Even when our internal motivation runs low, we can still be driven by external motivators, like deadlines or requests. For myself, all of these have been singularly lacking in strength recently. I’m not sure if it is burnout or what, but the emptiness is still there.

Now, that is not to say that I haven’t been writing. That’s one of the wonderful things about being part of the romance writing community, is that opportunities for encouragement and motivation abound. Even without being published, there are contest deadlines, accountability groups, critique partners, and such. I joined a Novel Push Initiative challenge in October with my sister, where the goal was to write 250 words per day. Now, compared to the 2000 per day I must write for NaNo, that doesn’t seem like much. But it helped me return to some form of enthusiasm for my stories that had been lacking.

And the more time I spend with them, the more I remember why I wanted to do this. NaNo is an opportunity to completely immerse yourself in your story. To not come up for breath before diving into the next scene. You basically live in a tiny, one bedroom apartment with your characters for a month, listening to the story as it unfolds. It is aggravating, tiring, stressful… and inspirational. I’ll be completely sick of these people by December 1st, but I’ll know them inside out and be grateful for the journey.

Until I collapse from exhaustion. :)

Are any of you NaNo-ing? Have you ever had a project that both drained and uplifted you?


Coming Soon!

Join us on Wednesday, Nov. 11, for guest author Donna Alward.

And don't miss the Playground's 4th Birthday Extravaganza on Friday the 13th! There will be a big prize given out by the cabana boys!!!

Winners of the Not So Scary Halloween Contest Grand Prize winner are Chris Jones of Texas. Runner up prize goes to Laura McIntyre of Oregon. Tune in January 1st for our next contest in 2010.


PM's Mother said...


Just call yourself Thomas and keep saying "I think I can! I think I can!" -- Then change to "I know I can! I Know I can!" You will get it done.

Smarty Pants said...

Well, I hit a roadblock on my NaNo progress when I had to stop and work on something else, but I'm hoping to get back to it today. I'm almost to the halfway point, so I need about 30k to finish it off.

Christine said...

You'll get this done and the joy will return. JR Ward said as long as we are writing, we're ALL authors. I liked that quote. You are an AUTHOR. You are writing stories that you believe in. There are people in your head who want to share their lives with you. Getting to share their lives and their stories with a reading audience, whether CP or Editor or paying readers is the icing on the writing cake.

I'm doing GH entry number two. It's been tough going and for three days I had to stop and reevaluate my story. Three days I had to give up writing and stop to find my original goals for the story. Tough stuff. But I did this one in a week and let it percolate way too long. Sooooo.... I went back to the first set of questions and they were about MY MOTIVATION to write the story. My answer was HER GOAL.

I need to write April Kihlstrom a note to thank her for that question.

Instigator said...

I'm not participating in NANO this year because I just turned in a book the end of Oct. I do have 2 proposals I'm working to get together though. My plan is to have them both finished by the end of the month. That's my NANO goal. And after a brainstorming session this weekend I finally feel like I'm ready to tackle the first one. :-)


Playground Monitor said...

I didn't decide til the last minute to do NaNo again and then I changed the book I'm writing at the 11th hour. I was on track til yesterday. With church and then a group meeting in the afternoon, the day was shot and I was beat when I got home. I wrote 286 words. So I have a lot to write today to catch up.

H*ll is right! But I know after winning last year just how rewarding it is to hit the 50K mark.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Problem Child said...

I'm not NaNo-ing. I just finished a book, thankyouverymuch, and need a brain break (of course, I'm trying to revise at the speed of light today...)

Angel said...

Today is not progressing well. I'm stuck at 800 words so far and have other things I need to tackle today too. Being off track over the weekend damaged my connection to the story and I'm having trouble getting back on track. Not fun but I know I'll get there eventually.

Don't you hate it, Christine, when you know something isn't right but it takes you a while to put your finger on exactly what it is? Good luck there!

SP, only you would so casually talk about 30K that way. I'm envious of your ability to get those words out in final draft form. Keep going.

PM, we're in this together, you and I! But we'll get there. I'm much further behind than you. Take heart in that. :)


Kathy said...

I wanted to do Nano, and then I got a rejection letter that has sent me doing revisions to a book I entered in the GH. Once that is done, I'm going live on the next book and will continue as long as possible until its done.

SP, you amaze me. :)

Instigator, keep working on that proposal. It's going to be dynamite!!

Slow and steady wins the race, y'all.

Angel said...

Actually, this is probably more like the hare, Kathy. :) I'll definitely drop from burnout in December, but hopefully the book will be done by then. I don't get much done in December anyway.

Thanks for the encouragement!