Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best Part of #NaNoWriMo

It's September 1st and still far too early to be thinking about NaNoWriMo, yet I find it on my mind as I wait for November. I'd like to attempt it this year, even if I don't finish the 50k goal. 

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Why? While I do like racking up the word count, the best thing about National Novel Writing Month has been the writing community. I love hanging out on the forums. It's a place to post questions, answer questions, pick and choose ideas, and chat. I've found critique partners and some other interesting people there as well. 

There's a whole writing community that I never would have found if I hadn't done NaNo, and my writing would be the poorer for it. NaNoWriMo is helping me get over my intense fear of sharing my writing. I used to be exceptionally paranoid even among other writers I knew when it came to sharing my writing. This is helping.

It hasn't been entirely positive, and the forums can be an extremely distracting place. However, the "Word Wars, Prompts, and Sprints" and the "Adoptables" forums have been extremely, AMAZINGLY helpful in getting new ideas, forcing myself to write, and beating my own personal procrastination monster.

Every year around this time, I see a flurry of posts on NaNoWriMo -- why you should do it, why you shouldn't, etc. Most people do the plug about how it forces you to speed-write 50k in a month, which helps you focus on discipline and ignore perfectionism. It does do those things -- but I've never seen or heard anyone to recommend it for the writing community. 

So I will! :) The best part of NaNoWriMo is that all the other people on the forums can be extremely useful, helpful, and fun. Of course you have your nasty people, too, but the moderators generally do a good job. (I can recall only one time I was really and genuinely offended by a moderator's response to my concern.) And the best thing about the forums is that they don't close when November ends. There's a small but dedicated group of people who hang out on the forums all year long.

Have you done NaNo? Have you "won" NaNo? Did you use the forums at all?

6 comments:

  1. You probably recall me mentioning last year that I have done it and "won" several times. You're not alone in thinking about it already; one of my other writer-friends asked me the other day if I'm doing it again this year.

    Most of this year I have assumed I won't be doing it. I have a novel I've been trying to finish a rough draft for for years now that i said I needed to finish by the end of the year, in a more conventional format than Nano.

    Lately I have thought about possible being a Nano Rebel, and like many others, using November to instead writer X number of short stories, or 50K worth of same. I made it a goal to finish a certain number of short stories by the end of this year, and I am no where near it as we start September. The writing has just been sluggish this year for some reason. But an alternative Nano might get me closer.

    As for the forums, I totally believe it, but I tend to not connect in forums of any kind. I never know what to say! Often it feels like I am just agreeing with what everyone else has said. If I can't think of something ultra-clever or new, I feel like I shouldn't be saying anything. But maybe I should try that aspect of it again this year as well.

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    1. I did the NaNoRebel thing last year. It worked out well (I finished in the first week of December and the project is my main WIP at the moment). I recall you saying you had a few NaNo's under your belt. Perhaps using the month to finish an MS is a good route?

      Believe me, I never know what to say on forums either. I started out pretty much just lurking. Then I started making threads, asking questions, or just posting on group or common threads. And got into a random debate about feminism. But mostly they were a positive experience...no one I remember is trying to be clever; it's more like a giant brainstorm and feedback pool.

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  2. I tried NaNo one year, but November is a killer month in Education. 4 years at Uni, and now I'm a teacher. I might do my own NaNo in August sometime!

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    1. Truth. School always kills my NaNo efforts to some degree. Everything is due and there are ALL OF THE TESTS. Grad school will probably only be worse, but hey!

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your August NaNo, if you decide to do it. :)

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  3. I love NaNo. I've only "won" once, but I love the community. Sometimes I pop into the forums, but there's just so much going on, I've given up trying to keep up.

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    1. Yeah, I never try to follow all the threads. The "watched threads" feature they introduced this year really helps you keep up on what you're interested in, which for me was awesome because otherwise, yeah, it was a bit overwhelming.

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