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November: To NaNo or Not to NaNo?

To NaNo, or not to NaNo?
That is the question!

And the answer is – yes you should!

Participant (banner)

Take a look around at the people near you this November. What are they doing with their time? How are they filling those dark nights now the clocks have changed? With romance, with TV, with that video game they always meant to get to, with nothing very much really?

SuperpoweredThis is where the NaNoWriMo comes in. For you creative types out there, it is the perfect excuse to dust of that typewri… erm… word processing package or Scrivener if you’ve that piece of software (well worth the few quid/dollars) and start your magnum opus. That story you’ve always wanted to tell, that’s been burning away inside you for more years than you can remember. The story you always wanted to read if only someone would write it. Well, you sit down and write it. Let it pour from your fingers like blessed rain upon drought starved dirt.

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, you have one month (November) to write 50,000 words or 1,666 words a day – the number of the beast after inflation is taken into account. It sounds daunting to many and it is tiring, but dammit, by the end you’ve achieved something worthwhile!

Start with a plan or wing it. The choice is yours, there is no right way. Just get your story moving, your characters interacting, fighting, killing or being killed and away you go. Easy! The trick is not to give up. If you’ve made the pledge this year, you’ll be nearing the end by the time you read this (and why are you reading this, get back and write!) and starting to ‘feel the burn’ as athletes say (so I am told) – the burn happens in your fingers (they start to ache) and in your brain (nagging doubts, insecurities and fear).

For the first, check your seating position, make sure your keyboard is comfortable and take regular rests. For the second, ignore it all – your inner editor is your enemy. Vanquish them now. Your book is great (for a first draft), the best thing you’ve ever written. It is exciting, powerful and damn fine writing – believe all those things and push on. (Hint: you can come back later and fix the errors.)

ParticipantI’ve done NaNo twice (The Stone Road, my first book, and Nothing’s Ever Simple, Corin Hayes #2). I’m on my third go round now with a totally new series. A full day at work, kids, family, all those little jobs around the house, and the desire to just sleep and rest all threaten your eventual victory. Those are the enemies’ foot soldiers trying to overwhelm you with numbers and exhaustion. Don’t let them. You can win this battle!

Ignore all those authors out there you like to disparage the NaNo, and there are a few who can’t resist, every year, plugging the fact they write 50K each and every month. Well, whoop doodly-do to them.

I don’t care. I care about those doing NaNo who have set themselves a challenge and refuse to give in! They are the heroes of this month! I care about you fellow NaNo’er! We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters); For he to-day that sheds his words with me shall be my brother; be he (or she) ne’er so vile!

As Henry V once said (or would have if Agincourt had been NaNo)…

For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Fantasy-Faction, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
WinnerLet him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not write in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to write with us.

Think of your rewards – the accomplishment, the feeling of pride, of success, the undying adulation of your family (maybe), the fame (unlikely), the fortune (see fame), the glory. Or just the realisation that you are stronger, more creative, more determined than you ever truly realised! Those calluses on the tips of your fingers will be your badge of honour and through those will we know each other! I stand with you against the horde, proud to be at your side in this battle!

And speaking of things you can change when you go back… the title of this article… really should be something out of Henry V? I’m happy to take suggestions.

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