Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Monday, November 29, 2010

As I See It: The Benefits of NaNoWriMo

I didn't participate this year but I'm cheering all of you who did. And I'm just a teensy bit jealous. Well, okay, I'm a lot jealous. For personal reasons, it wasn't a good time for me. I've seen different viewpoints on how beneficial it is to furiously spew out 50K words in 30 days. I used to wonder myself until I did it. Okay, to be truthful, I've never done it. I only came close a couple times.

But just the same, here's why I think NaNoWriMo is a good idea for writers:

* It's like running up a hill with weighted shoes every day for a month. When you take the weights off, the route seems a lot easier.

* In order to meet the goal, it's essential to ignore the self-editor that makes you keep stopping to fix your work. Or the self-editor that makes you stop working altogether.

* The feeling of accomplishment is incredible. Who cares if it's crap? Who even cares if you are 10K words short? That's what revisions are for.

* The realization that if one can complete a novel in 30 days, then why not one a year?

* You wrote a novel. You are now a writer. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

* All your writing friends are doing it, so might as well join the party instead of sitting on the sidelines feeling left out and jealous of their accomplishments. *laughs nervously* *who me?*

So I applaud all of you who entered and completed NaNoWriMo. Cheers!!! You are much better writers for having done it. At least that's how I see it.

44 comments:

  1. Good points, Karen.

    I think that if we wanted, we could set ourselves a NaNo month anytime, and then perhaps to spur us on, we could write posts to let our followers know how we're doing...

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  2. So many lovely thoughts in this post. Thanks for sharing and supporting us crazies. :)

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  3. I'm amazed at the amount of writers I follow who are now starting to post that they have done it.

    I applaud them all as well.

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  4. I'll add my applause to yours, for all the reasons you listed. *claps*

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  5. My thoughts exactly! That self editor is always ragging on me, not always for the better. Fifty K words that need work is better than ten K you've edited to death and still needs work.

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  6. Hear hear. I've never (yet) done NaNo either but the inspiration and encouragement it provides seem invaluable to me. Congratulations to everyone that has been doing it.

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  7. I made it! And my self-editor made me stop and fix things numerous times. Throw in my slow typing skills and I crept along doing the bare minimum for most of the month. But I hit the target and can now finish the book at my own pace.
    And go back to fix all the crap!

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  8. Karen,
    These are great! There is always next year~
    You are accomplished, I need to set a timer and write for so long a day. I am dabbling in other arenas. Yeah, spinning wheels, perhaps, I need to do one thing a day. Thanks for the reality check and reminder of the beauty of it and the brawn~

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  9. If I ever feel like writing a book again, I'll try NaNo one of these years!

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  10. I just don't know how anyone can fit NaNo in.
    All too often my writing seems to take about 20th place on my list of priorities.

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  11. Karen, there's always next year! I crossed the 50k finish line just a little bit ago. It does feel amazing to have accomplished this awesome task. There's still more story for me to write, but I'm so glad I did it. And yes, doing it with a bunch of writers is so much fun. Next year, next year!

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  12. It's so brilliant to see lots of bloggie friends finishing and/or on their way to finishing!!! I'm so happy for them all!! Yay!!!!

    Take care
    x

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  13. Good list especially #1. I did it last year and pretended I was going to do a version of it this year. I didn't finish but I met my goal of getting through the toughest part of my revision. I think NaNos for me might be like marathons and tattoos - I've taken part in one of each and so I know I can do it but I don't need to keep doing it. I need to finish something right to the 'I'm Published' and beyond point. So, I'll strap on the medium weight shoes and fly atter!

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  14. Yes lots of positives to nano writing.I applaud everyone who had a go. :O)

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  15. Like you, Karen, I didn't do Nano but I'm thrilled for everyone that did. Even if they didn't make the 50k words in the month, they're still a lot further along than they were a month ago. That's always cause for celebration.

    Jai

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  16. What a great post.

    I've done Nano for several years and I always learn something. This year I kept telling myself, "I'll edit it later" and now I'm ready to do that! (And boy does it need it!)

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  17. Awesome post. I admire everyone who completes the challenge. I've done NaNoReMo this time. That's what I get for finishing a wip three days before NaNo starts. lol. Next year, I'm going for it.

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  18. Hear! Hear! I didn't participate either, but 50,000 words is an accomplishment, even if the words are dribble. You can edit dribble.

    We'll be celebrating NaNo on December 1 at Under the Tiki Hut. Everyone is welcome, participant or not.

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  19. I got half way through and you are right something is better than nothing.

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  20. I love the line that one is now a writer--they are! They wrote a whole book! amazing!

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  21. Great post! It really is quite an accomplishment!

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  22. I sat out NaNo too- November is a horrible month for me to undertake such a feat.

    But!

    I got 20,000+ words down just living off everyone else's excitement. That might be a record for one month of writing for me.

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  23. It is amazing, isn't it? I did not participate, but am so excited for those that did.

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  24. I agree. I haven’t done Nano, but I truly admire (and yes, I’m a bit jealous, too) all those passionate writers who did take part.

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  25. This good. I am doing Nano and almost done. Taking a mini break to recharge the brain cells, I guess. The self editor is one of the huge things I battled during this challenge.

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  26. Thanks for the encouragement. This is my fifth nano in the past six years and this has been far and away the toughest year for me. At 48k as I type this and I'll slog through the rest somehow. Congrats to those that are already done.

    I'm planning on celebrating big time once I've crossed that barrier.

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  27. Great advice ...The feeling of accomplishment is incredible. Who cares if it's crap? Who even cares if you are 10K words short? That's what revisions are for. My problem is that I did a lot of revision and research for November on an existing MS, so the word count willnot come close to 50,000. But the MS is in much greater shaoe so I'm happy.

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  28. So hearing about all these success stories is highly motivating.

    Rusty, are you kidding me? 5 November Novels in 6 years? I am inspired by you. That is amazing.

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  29. I think you are right. I didn't take part in this, but I may do it on my own...

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  30. I may have done my fifty thousand but my story is not done. That's a bit frustrating. Oh well, I'll have to work on it later. Have other edits to do instead.
    CD

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  31. Thanks for cheering us on Karen. You're a true supporter of your fellow writers. It's greatly appreciated! I agree with all your points. This was my first year and I made it and I feel good about it. Now, I can take December off to do fun things and know I have a story waiting to be edited on the 2nd of January. Great post! :D

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  32. I didn't participate either; but I admire all those who took up the challenge.

    I'm hoping next year I'll be able to NaNo. It sounds like an excellent experience.

    .........dhole

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  33. Well said, Karen! I think doing NaNo can only be a good thing, and hats off to everyone doing it!

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  34. I loved Nano and I think your tips were amazing. I was happy to accomplish something with such a great group of people and everyone who was backing us up even though they couldn't join.

    There is something liberating about forcing yourself to join the fight against pushing that novel out. Hold nothing back, give it all, crap included :)

    Jen/Jules

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  35. I'm still weighing the pros and cons of having done it. I'm on the fence, really.

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  36. Thanks Karen, I want to laugh at the thought that I could inspire anyone. I seem to be able to turn out a first draft pretty consistently, it's that whole revising/editing/submitting thing that gets me every time.

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  37. This was great Karen! I love that you are still encouraging, even if you aren't playing this time. I managed it (finished the 27th). It is my 3rd WriMo and i think this one is the closest I've come to a 'cooked' story (the other two are still waiting for some CPR with big giant holes)

    I know it's TRUE that we could do this ANY MONTH, but I think at least having a cohort of co-conspirators is a huge part of why it works to me... there is adrenaline, competition, accountability...yes, mostly self-inflicted, but if you let yourself buy into it all, it really does keep you going.

    And Rusty-you are totally not alone... this was my 8th first draft of a novel... only 3 have had any editing and only one is (I believe) ready.

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  38. Oof, not something I could even *imagine* having the time for these days - but again, applause for everyone who's managed it! (Deadlines really do make me produce stuff though, I find this all the time at work...)

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  39. It's true about the weighted shoes. Knowing you can achieve something means there is a stronger likelihood to continue.

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  40. I did not "win", but I did try for the very first time. I felt it was very beneficial because I tried an idea I had only played around with. I will definitely do it again!

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  41. I'm proud of everyone who did it, too. YAY for you all! :)

    November is not a good month for me (too busy!), so I was a cheerleader on the sidelines.

    Amy

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  42. Alas, my concentration capacity is about 50 words much less 50,000. I wouldn't have it any other way but I admire those that can do such a thing.

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  43. I wasn't able to participate this year either. I had company and then traveled. I admire anyone who was able to participate and even more those who hit 50,000 words. WTG!

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  44. I know that there are a lot of naysayers when it comes to NaNoWriMo - but I don't think that there's anything wrong with it at all.

    1) It's a great way to get yourself into the habit of regular writing.

    2) It's a great way to make friends in the writer/blogger community.

    3) It's a great way to explore new ideas that can be developed further once November is over.

    Thanks for all your supportive comments during the month - I'm so pleased I passed the 50k boundary in time!

    Katie

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