nanowrimo

Self-Isolating? Camp NaNoWriMo is Here For You

Self-isolating isn’t just incredibly boring; it’s also lonely. The co-workers, peers, and friends you used to see on the regular are now tucked away in their own homes, with all social interactions suspended until further notice. If you’re a writer, your newfound free time might prove to be the best time to finish that novel you’ve been working on-and-off for years. But just because you’re in self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to write alone—Camp NaNoWriMo begins in just 13 days. 

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers from across the globe attempt to finish a 50,000-word novel—in just thirty days. While you’re encouraged to write at least 1,600 words a day, how you decide to go about writing is entirely up to you. It might take a lot of discipline to get to that 50,000-word finish line, but the experience is fun all the same. 

via nanowrimo

Camp NaNoWriMo is a little different in that, instead of sticking to a 50,000-word goal, you can go about your writing however you want. This means that you can choose a goal of 25,000 words, 250 hours, or 25 pages. Or, if you’re in the midst of the fourth draft of your work-in-progress, you can commit to revising two chapters a day. Essentially, your goal can be whatever you want. All that matters is that you have one.

 

The best part about Camp NaNoWriMo is probably the community. If you’ve participated in Camp before, you probably remember being sorted into a “cabin” of other writers based on things like age or the genre you were writing in. However, since Camp merged onto the same site as November NaNoWriMo, things have changed a little bit: you now have the freedom to choose your own “writing group.” Unlike Camp “cabins,” these groups won’t expire at the end of the month, allowing you to keep in touch with your new friends well after the end of Camp NaNoWriMo. You can also join as many writing groups as you want—or even make your own!

The NaNoWriMo team also hosts word sprints on their Twitter account and YouTube. This allows you to participate in writing prompts and challenges with other NaNoWriMo writers in real-time. 

via the bestseller experience

At a time when we’re facing separation from our regular communities, Camp NaNoWriMo provides the perfect platform to connect with others—all while getting in some much-needed writing time. Just because you’re in self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to suffer emotional isolation, too; there are people out there just waiting to connect with you online and read your killer writing project.

 

Camp NaNoWriMo starts April 1, but you can declare your project and join writing groups throughout the month of March. All you have to do is sign up here. If you’ve been pushing off your work-in-progress these past few months, you no longer have an excuse not to write. In the words of NaNoWriMo, the world needs your novel! So get writing, and stay safe!

featured image via susan Dennard

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NaNoWriMo Is Over… Now What?

With the month of November drawn to a close, so too does NaNoWriMo end. NaNoWriMo, for those who might not be familiar, is the month-long writing challenge that pushes writers to write 50,000 words in thirty days. For some, this is a good way to help crank out first drafts of projects. For others, the act of writing so much is exhausting and it will only end in burnout. This challenge is not made simpler by the fact that November is by no means an easy month. For students, this month means working on final papers for class or preparing for exams. For folks working in retail or any position that is holiday sensitive, this is an extremely stressful time of year as well. If you are both a student and an employee, it gets even more difficult. If you happen to be a parent, a student, an employee, and anything else, NaNoWriMo becomes a serious task and commitment to take on.

 

 

All the same, that doesn’t mean that NaNos can’t keep pushing onward and continue working on their projects.

 

So where do NaNos go from here?

 

Well, there are several directions that NaNos can take after November ends. NaNoWriMo was originally meant to help writers create first drafts for projects that they would like to pursue for the remainder of the year. For the writers who completed their drafts, the months following NaNoWriMo are meant typically intended for rewriting, revising, and reworking their current projects. The hardest part for some writers, after all, is getting words onto the page, and that is why NaNoWriMo encourages the idea of writing with abandon. So now that these writers have made it to 50,000 and completed their stories, now is the time to review and revise and decide where to go from there.

 

 

BUt what about the writers who didn’t finish their drafts?

 

Image via yale herald

 

Just because a NaNo didn’t complete her project doesn’t mean that she can’t opt to start a new draft or begin to edit what she already has. It isn’t uncommon for a draft to not be completed prior to a writer beginning another. It also isn’t uncommon to edit as one works on their story either. Writer Zadie Smith edits as she works on her stories, so it isn’t unheard of to take what one currently has and edit it as it is. For some NaNos, that might be exactly what they need to do. One of my dear friends started a project this past November, and she decided that she didn’t like the direction that the story was going. She knows that now, and she can now begin the process of reworking her draft when she feels ready. She can either edit what she has, or she can start anew. Regardless, she knows what things to avoid when she begins her new draft.

 

 

Regardless, this is a time to consider where your story is going and if any changes need to take place

 

Image via hbs digital initiative – harvard business school

 

The end of November is the prime time to review what one has written and consider the direction that one would like to take from there. Do you like where your story went? Or would you rather the plot go another way? Maybe you found out that a character that you thought would be extremely insignificant would make an amazing protagonist and a new point of view to follow. Based on that, you can choose to restructure your story in a way that appeals to you more than it may have originally. Perhaps these decisions will lend a new level of complexity to your narrative, and in doing so, it will help you craft a story that is more well-rounded. This is the ideal time to sit back and ruminate on your story and make a plan of action (if you are a planner when it comes to writing).

 

 

Remember: it is okay to set a story aside

 

image via youworkforthem

 

NaNoWriMo is really good for writers (like me) who have a hard time finishing the projects that they start. We have a clear goal in mind and a month-long window set to complete it. However, I will be the person to say that you, as a writer, will probably not finish every story you start. And that is okay. You might get halfway through your idea and realize that it has no foreseeable end. You might realize that this project doesn’t make you happy. You might have another more promising idea grab you by the wrists.

That’s okay.

Just because you opt to not complete a project doesn’t mean that you have failed. In her book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, writer Elizabeth Gilbert tells her readers that there are going to be stories and projects that they start that will never be finished, and that is okay. 

Does this mean that you, as a writer, should abandon every project you start? Absolutely not. This also doesn’t mean that you can’t take these early ideas and incorporate them into another story later on. What it does mean is that you have permission to put an idea on hold or, again, recognize when a story isn’t going anywhere.

 

 

The most important thing is to keep writing

 

image via Scripps college

 

Your work is important. Your ideas are important. You may have no plans of ever sharing either with another soul. You might want to get it published. What matters is that you keep writing. The NaNoWriMo website isn’t only available during November, after all: you can create a new goal and use the same interface to work towards it in the coming months. Ultimately, you should take what you learned from this last month and make something of it. That doesn’t mean take the same project that you had for this year and run with it, especially if you realized that you didn’t enjoy working on it, but it does mean sit back and consider what you liked about the process and what you disliked. What would you change? What worked best for you? Now that you have a better feel of things: keep writing.

And don’t forget: Camp NaNo takes place twice a year (during the months of April and July). So if your November was hectic, maybe Camp NaNo will be a better alternative? After all, you get to choose your writing goal during these months, so you aren’t beholden to the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo challenges you to reach.

It doesn’t matter if you another month or if you another five years to complete a project: keep writing.

 

Featured Image Via the Irish Times

 


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5 Quotes To Help You Kick Your NaNoWriMo Slump

With the month winding down and NaNoWriMo writers working to reach their respective 50,000 word goals, it should come as no surprise that many of these NaNo participants are experiencing a writer’s slump. Some of these individuals might be dealing with deadlines that relate to school, or perhaps work is taking its toll as the holidays fast approach. Or maybe it’s just good old fashioned writer’s block — the scourge of all writers.

Regardless, this is the time of the month where NaNo writers are confronted by their exhaustion, and they have to make the choice to keep working towards their goals or to call it good for the year. To keep you going, here are five quotes from writers to encourage you to keep working on your NaNo project.

1. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

Image via Film at Lincoln center

Toni Morrison, author of Beloved and The Bluest Eye, is a Nobel Prize recipient and the writer of more than ten books.

 

2. “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.” – Sir Terry Pratchett

Image via Britannica.com

While alive, Terry Pratchett wrote over 40 books. His impressive bibliography includes titles like Good Omens (co-written with Neil Gaiman) and the Discworld series.

 

3. “Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.” – Annie dillard

image via the Nation

Annie Dillard is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the writer of books like The Writing Life and Living By Fiction. She has dabbled in multiple literary styles– everything from poetry to prose, and from fiction to nonfiction.

 

4. “It’s such a confidence trick, writing a novel. The main person you have to trick into confidence is yourself.” – Zadie Smith

image via Brain Pickings

Zadie Smith has been listed on Granta’s 20 Best Young British Novelists on two separate occasions. She is a recipient of the Orange Prize for Fiction award and a member of the Royal Society of Literature. She wrote the novels White Teeth and On Beauty.

 

5. “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

image via Nbc News

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been rewarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Hurston/Wright Legacy award, and the Orange Prize. She wrote the novels Americanah and Half of A Yellow Sun

Featured Image Via Pinterest

 

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