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November and NaNoWriMo

Once again, November is almost here. Suddenly, it seems as if last November and my first NaNoWriMo were but just a few short weeks ago. In reality, it’s been almost an entire year. And where do I find myself? Ill-prepared for the upcoming NaNoWriMo and still working on my previous novel.

Last year about this time I was nervous and excited, but I had a very clear idea about what I was going to write. As far as the overall story went, I was prepared. It was all up there in my head, ready to come out on paper. I’m by no means a plotter, though, at least in the traditional sense. I think about a story awhile and then, when ready, begin typing. I then fly along by the seat of my pants, figuring that whatever story I’m revealing will, in the end, simply tell itself. This has always worked in the past, so I guess I can count on it working in the future.

I “won” NaNoWriMo last year with my novel ending up at just above fifty thousand words. Today, it stands at just a shade under one-hundred thousand. My best guess is that it will end up right around one hundred and twenty thousand words. So, I’m almost done. Right? Well, we all know that’s not really true. While the basic story will have been told, it will take several passes of editing before it remotely resembles something approaching what could reasonably be called a novel. But hey, all the basics will be there, and that’s what’s important at this point.

Okay, so that’s all well and good. But what to write this year? Fortunately, I’ve had about six stories circulating around through my head over the last few years and have vague ideas about where they will go. The trick is to figure out which of them is most engaging to me right now. For NaNoWriMo, and for the months and years that follow, a story had better really capture my interest if I’m going to make it through the writing process. If it can sustain my interest, there’s a good chance a reader might someday find it entertaining as well. At least that’s what I hope (as all aspiring writers do).

So what does it all mean? Well, it means two things: one, I’d better get it in gear and decide which story to write next month (which is just a couple of days away!); and two, I need to better focus my efforts on last year’s novel. So, starting in December, after winning NaNoWriMo 2011, I will ponder setting reasonable goals for my writing. My hope is that by doing so it will both motivate me and serve as a guide along the way that I can use to track my progress (more on those in December).

What’s that old saying? If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Well, time for this aspiring writer to start planning.

–dp

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Categories: Writing
  1. Tara Beimer Shaw
    October 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Thank you for commenting on my blog. Good luck during NaNoWriMo. 🙂

  2. Tara Beimer Shaw
    November 6, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Hey, just noticed that you have a Scrivener link over there —> Are you using it for NaNo? I used it for the first time last year (for two novels during November) and I love it. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

    What’s your handle on the NaNo site? I’d love to “buddy” you.

    Take care and good luck. 🙂

    • November 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Tara – I’m definitely using Scrivener for NaNoWriMo. I first started using it last year during NaNoWriMo and have never looked back. Wonderful piece of software that has made it so much easier to write. I’m like you. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

      I’m ddp on the NaNo site. Look me up.

      Continued good luck on NaNoWriMo!

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