Friday, October 18, 2013

Do You Nano?

November is just about here and with it the annual competition with yourself. There are some pretty good prizes if you win. And the entire event is about you being successful as a writer.


NANOWRIMO. National Novel Writing Month. Every November writers from all over the world compete with themselves to start a novel and get 50,000 words written in the thirty days of the month. Yes, Thanksgiving is in there and all the cooking and family time but it can be done.

NANOWRIMO, or as it’s affectionally referred to as Nano, began with 21 writers getting together in San Francisco in 1999. From that group of 21it has grown into a 501 c3 not-for-profit organization with nine full-time staff who co-ordinate the main event of NANOWRIMO as well as Young Writer Programs and Camp Nano.

The stats for 2012 had 341,375 participants beginning the month. In addition to NANOWRIMO, 82,554 students and educators participated in the Youth Writing Program and during 2013 there were 44,919 campers in the online Camp Nano Retreats. That’s a lot of writing going on.

I’ve participated in two Nanos and completed the goal in each. It can be challenging with life poking its head in when you really want to write. My first year, 2011, was really challenging as I hadn’t been writing very long. I had just met the goal with 51,147 words when my mother-in-law was in a terrible car accident which took the last ten days of the month away. That novel went on to be completed and released in September of 2012 as the second novel in my Cottonwood Series, Lord’s Love.

I made it my goal to be better prepared in my second attempt last year. My research was done ahead and I’d ‘plotted’ out the story, neither of which I had done the previous year. In 2011 I found out about the event three weeks before and was gone for a week during that time.

The first 50K words of Leah’s Peace were written in 11 days. The rest of the month I spent getting ready for the release of Giving Love, Cottonwood Series #2 and the companion to Leah’s Peace in the Stones Creek Series Chasing Norie. Enough with the self promotion.

50,000 words in 30 days sounds like a lot. It is but if you break it down into a daily average it’s only 1,667 words per day. By setting your personal goal at say 2000 you will have plenty of time to finish if you keep at it with some days when life smacks you upside the head and you are unable to write any.

A few of bits of advice:
  1. Warn your family you will be unavailable to settle petty squabbles. No blood, no cops, no problems and you won’t get involved.
  2. You might miss some sporting events (Hey, they’ll live and the world won’t stop turning on its axis.)
  3. Some meals may be peanut butter and jelly or they can cook themselves.
  4. Take October to teach them to do their own laundry. It’s a skill they’ll need in life anyway.
  5. Do whatever fall cleaning you feel absolutely, positively must be done now or let it rest until after the first of the year. Remember December is coming on the heels of NANOWRIMO.
  6. If  you listen to music while you write get your playlist ready now.
  7. Do whatever research you need to do for the story done now. That way you won’t have to stop to look it up.
  8. Make sure you have your computer defragged, de-virused if you run Windows 
  9. THE MOST IMPORTANT have several places for backing up your work.
After you’ve done all that look up Nano Word Warriors on Facebook. We have Word Wars all year but especially during Nano for two seconds of bragging rights for writing the most during an hour Word War. It’s fun and helps us keep motivated and moving the fingers over the keyboard.

So sign up at http://nanowrimo.org/ , and plan, plot or seat of the pants it with us in November.


Sophie Dawson is an award winning author of Christian Fiction. She lives with her husband and cat on a farm in western Illinois. Her characters demonstrate the courage and strength it takes to live in faith and obedience to the Word of God.
Sophie blogs one a week on her website sophie-dawson.com as well as thebarndoor.net in addition to AuthorCulture.com.
She has recently released her fourth and fifth books, Leah’s Peace and Chasing Norie.
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