So… I am currently “mid-Nano.”
Eight days in, appropriately stressed, and my word count thus far is at 14,006.
For those of you who do not write, “Nano Wrimo” stands for National November Writers Month, and is a challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November.
The finish line, so to speak, is 11:59pm on the 3oth November: final word counts must be uploaded to the Nano site by then, to be counted and verified. You then receive an awesome Nano success certificate, and loads of other cool stuff such as 50% off Scrivener (which is the no. 1 writers software package), and other writing related goodies.
If you wished to, and were so inclined, you could sit and write constantly for two days and submit your 50,000 words on the 2nd November.
There are actually people who do this, and enjoy the challenge of being one of the first to complete it. For most of us, who are only a little bit mad, the aim is to write 1666 words a day. If you choose to only write Monday to Friday, the daily word count is 2174.
So, for one month, every spare second is spent cramming in a few words here and there; daily commutes, lunch breaks and any spare moments are used to write, and the last thing that is done each evening is to update the ‘total word count’ on your personal Nano page.
This is the best bit of each day, as there are stats telling you which date you will finish on if you continue to write at your current pace; how many words you need to write a day to finish on time; and what your average daily word count has been.
There is also a really cool little graph which tells you where you are in relation to ‘the curve,’ of writing 1666 words a day.
Last year I really enjoyed watching my personal line of progress rise above the ‘curve line,’ as I rocked out about 5000 words a day for the first few days, and then managed to finish on the 18th of November. This year I have a lot more going on, and so am not getting it done so quickly.. in fact I haven’t yet written anything today.
I’m fairly lucky because I don’t work full time, and therefore Nano isn’t so much of a challenge for me. My boyfriend does, and so for him the whole experience is a lot more intense. I can go for a couple of days without writing too much, and be fairly confident that I will have time to catch up; whereas for him he has less time to relax.
He has just been sitting next to me dutifully churning out the words, whilst I have been faffing about on this site and watching videos on YouTube.. I don’t have too much energy right now, and I figure I can make it up tomorrow.
The point of this challenge is quantity not quality. Your 50,000 words could be the most inordinate amount of drivel- it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that, by the 30th November, that word count is reached.
Nano is a challenge designed to get new writers into the habit of writing daily; which is one of the greatest challenges a writer who is just starting out faces. Often procrastination becomes the main past-time of a new writer; I have written posts on this, and how anything else becomes interesting when you’re meant to be writing.
Often the idea of writing is really appealing, but the reality is a lot harder. Therefore the ideas may be there but the discipline and perseverance required to actually translate them into something real can be really hard to muster up.
Nano means that you have to write every day, you have to get that 1666 words done, otherwise you’re not going to complete it, and you will quickly become unstuck.
If you don’t write for a few days, the word-count required to catch up gets bigger and scarier; thus, if you don’t get your daily word count done each day, your stress levels are going to slowly but surely spiral out of control.
If you miss three days, on the fourth day you are going to need to write 6,664 words to catch up.. which is a fairly tall order and would probably intimidate the crap out of most published writers.
So Nano is a really great way to get into the routine of writing every day, and to get into the mindset required to actually write a book, instead of just dreaming about it. There is an active online community, which is great for mutual encouragement and support; and there are various writing groups and workshops which take place throughout the month.
It is a lot of fun, throughout November, to meet up with other people who have consumed as much coffee as you have, and can sympathise with obsessions relating to how many words can be written in a ten minute coffee break, and whether or not you one can get away with writing whilst eating, showering or entertaining…
For one month- getting that daily word count done becomes the most important thing. Be prepared to say goodbye to friends, other hobbies, and house-work of any kind! None of those things are important whilst Nano is being completed.
I would recommend the challenge for anybody who wants to write, but is struggling to turn their dream into a reality. If you can complete it, and then actually keep the momentum going throughout December and onwards, then you will have developed the discipline and routine of daily writing; the most important skill required to write a full novel.
On that note, I should probably get back to editing!
As I said, I have a lot going on at the moment.. tomorrow I need to write at least 3,332 words to catch up. It should be ok; I have a fairly open day so I should be able to do 4000 which will take me slightly above target; always a nice position to be in. I’m fairly relaxed, as there is still a lot of time ahead.
Happy Nano 2016, and I hope your words come easy 😉