When temperatures start to level off , the evenings have a slight cripsness, and the days start getting a wee bit shorter, you know it’s almost time for NaNoWriMo!
For those who may not have heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, it’s a nonprofit organization that helps people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds.
At the begninning, NaNoWriMo started off as a 30 day challenge in November. The idea was that anyone could write a novel in 30 days and NaNo provided the challenge and structure. Today, NaNoWriMo has grown to so much more—supporting literacy programs, hosting creative camps year-round, providing tools and writing spaces to students.
I’ve participated in the November NaNoWriMo every year since 2008. I don’t always “win” (winning = writing at least 50,000 words by November 30). But every year I always write something and have a lot of fun. I “won” in 2013 and 2017.
In 2013, I was lucky enough to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously. Held in San Fran, it’s a night of furious writing in a ballroom in November with 200 of your fellow NaNoers. In 2017, I hand wrote the entire 50,000+ words in several of my favorite Maruman Mnemosyne A5 notebook.
Slightly off-topic side note: If you’re not familiar with Maruman notebooks, let me be the first to tell you how awesome these notebooks are. Japanese-made, as most all of my favorite pen and papers are, they come in unlined, lined, and graph and in a variety of sizes. The paper is acid-free and even takes fountain pens without bleeding. I love the graph notebooks and have many in several sizes. And now I can buy them local!
Every year, I also attempt to do the NaNo Camps in April and July, but have been less successful at the camps. And by attempt I mean I say I’m going to do it. I join a cabin (virtual small group) with other campers (fellow writers), and then promptly forget all about it.
November is just the perfect writing month.
Poor November, stuck in between the bright leaves of autumn leading to the raucous costumed fun of Halloween and the cold, crisp, snowy December days with the twinkling colorful lights of Christmas. November, on the other hand, has Thanksgiving, the humblest holiday with its coma-inducing turkey. Its brown days as the leaves have all fallen and been swept away. Its dark evenings before twinkling lights or soft snow. Its depressing weather, sometimes rain and cold temperatures (although not this year since I now live on a sub-tropical island!)—in other words, November is the perfect month for staying indoors and writing.
I normally approach November and NaNoWriMo with no plans, otherwise known as a pantser (as in, flying by the seat of). I’ll never be a planner (someone who has meticulously outlined their novel and may have notes). But this year I am a plantser—the best of both worlds—because I have some ideas, some notes, and may have jotted down a sentence fragment as well as some inspiration.
This year, I want to win again. I want to hit the 50,000 word mark. I know I have something to say. It’s there. I just need to get it out on the page.
So I’m going to take the rest of September (can you believe it’s mid-month?) and October to plan for November. My planning is mostly around scheduling writing times and maybe even taking a day or two off from the day job to focus on writing.
Because of COVID, I haven’t really used any leave, and because of COVID, there’s no place to go. So November looks like a good time to take a couple of days and do some writing.
Who will be joining me for NaNoWriMo in November? Buddy me here on NaNoWriMo and let’s get writing!