Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thursday Review—NaNoWriMo

I know you're as excited as I am that it's the first Thursday of the month. It's Lynn Blackburn's day to post her review. Join me as we welcome her back!
Don't forget to join the conversation!

National Novel Writing Month
by Lynn Blackburn

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (See Edie’s latest post on The Book Doctor for more details). The event is frequently referred to as NaNo and the participants are Wrimos. I was explaining this to my sister and her response was “You’re all a bunch of MoRos—short for Morons.” Not because of the goofy acronyms. But for the trip down Loony Lane that is NaNoWriMo.

Who do we think we are trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days? Have we lost our minds?


So why bother?

I can’t speak for everyone participating, but for me, it’s about two things. Stifling my Inner Editor (again, see Edie’s excellent post) and making time when there is no time.

Let me tell you about my Inner Editor. She’s a vicious little thing. Reminds me of a yapping dog. Small but ferocious. Determined to be heard and seen.

Are you picking up on the fact that I have a hate-hate relationship with her?

Not really. When I’m editing, I’m quite fond of the little monster. She’s ruthless. Which is what I want during an edit. But not during a first draft. And after giving her the run of the place for the past several months, it’s been near impossible to muzzle her.

But NaNoWriMo is all about shutting her up. Or at least ignoring her until I’ve met my word count.

My other issue is time. I’m learning that successful writers make time. They don’t find it. It doesn’t just happen. They hunt it down and use it whenever they can. In the carpool line, during naptime, early in the morning, late at night.

I tend to want to write whenever the time fairy sprinkles me with pixie dust and stops the clock for a solid hour. Which is to say, almost never. But NaNo doesn’t give me the option to wait for the right opportunity. I have to make time. I have to remember to charge my laptop and think about how to fit writing into my day.

I have to choose to write.

When this month is over, I hope to have written 50,000 words. They won’t be perfect. They’ll need a serious review by the Internal Editor (she’s gnashing at her leash and she’ll be a terror after a month of solitary). But if those 50,000 words have found their way out of my head and onto the page by November 30th, I’ll have had to scrape out time. Five minutes here. Ten there. I’ll have had to write fast and furious.

The tagline for NaNoWriMo is 30 Days and Nights of Literary Abandon.

I’m not usually much of an “abandon” kind of girl. But I’ve been stewing on this draft for over a year. Maybe a little “abandon” is what’s called for.

Care to join us? In NaNo land, I’m “LynnHB” and Edie is “emelson”. If you sign up, link to us as buddies and we’ll cheer each other on.

Don't forget to join the conversation!


  1. My Internal Editor threw fits the first two days of NaNoWriMo.
    Day three she overslept when I crawled out of bed at 5 AM to work on my wretched rough draft. Today--well, I think she thinks: If you want to get up that early and write a bunch of worthless words, go ahead! We'll talk about it later.
    And we will.
    I'm finding NaNoWriMo beneficial because a) I'm seeing the word count rise and b) I'm seeing forward motion.
    Not all of the stuff I'm writing is worthless--but it will all need to be edited.
    I just hope my Internal Editor will be a little better behaved when I let her have her say.

  2. Ok Lynn, as a non-fiction article, devotion writer I didn't see the benefit for joining NaNoWriMo. But if it will help tame, train, or even muzzle the inner editor in me and let me show her that there is a time to speak and a time to be quiet, I may have to consider signing up. Now that I have missed four days of writing, can I work out what I can write per month on a prorate basis? :)

    Thanks Lynn and thank you Edie for letting Lynn share :)

  3. I've noticed that while writing for NaNoWriMo, the only part of my internal editor that shows up is in correcting misspelled words. (I haven't figured out how to turn off the automatic spell check.) However, she isn't slowing me down! I look forward to editing, but for now, I'm writing, writing, writing.

  4. Thanks for the comments!
    Beth - I'm laughing at the thought of your internal editor oversleeping! And you are so right - it isn't all worthless, but it will all have to be edited.
    Beth - Dive on in! The best part is participating. Last year, I signed up just to get a feel for it. I didn't get anywhere close to 50,000 words. Just getting in the habit of choosing to make time to write will benefit anyone - even a non-fiction article, devotion writer as awesome as you!
    Alycia - glad you've got your internal editor under control. For now. Mine kept quiet for the first day. She's been a pain ever since. Be on guard :-)!