Thursday, October 21, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2009 Redux

The writers' marathon month is upon us once again; the social media airwaves are all atwitter and abuzz. I shan't be taking part this year (I think instead I'll sign up for NaNoReMo, 'cause finally I'm top of list at the library for the Franzen), but last year, I plopped my tush on the 'rhoid pillow and dove in, and scrubbed out a good 40Kpages words

(I wrote only a half a novel, sigh).
A yearish later, here are my take-aways:

1. Characters CAN be forced into being
2. I'm sloppy when I'm fast
3. Plot is, and always will be, my downfall
4. Writers are obsessive. But in a good way.
5. All writers who spend more than 2 hours a day at their craft should invest in ergonomic set-ups.
6. The occasional "lost weekend" is reasonable for a writer; a "lost month" when you have a family--you gonna pay!
7. Community is important (so is nightly Scotch)
8. Consider inviting other WriMos in your "group" to post their last paras of the day in a FB message. I did this w/ my friends and it was incentivizing
9. Get your massages lined up. One per week. Seriously. Or trade bodywork w/ others.
10. Don't take the resulting output too seriously. It'll probably be mostly shit, but there will be several gems to glean from it.

I know #10 won't be a popular point, but, when I look back at the digital ink I spilled in Nov 2009, I see lots of cool parts, but the sum of them is head-scratchingly obtuse. I'm not saying that'll be true for everyone, but, as in the Perfect Storm, in order for a novel that's pooped out in a month to be draft-worthy, plot, passion, and people have to align in an enduring way. Just 'cause it's November doesn't mean they will.

Have fun kids!


  1. All great points, Suzy. I think it's important for writers not to expect a literary masterpiece at the end of the month...rather an exercise in getting off one's rear, so to speak, and put some major action behind all their great intentions.

    And I always consider reading a good writing practice.

  2. Well said, Erin. As Bruce Springsteen says, "You can't start a fire without a spark." NaNoWriMo is a great spark-creator, and then some.


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