Sunday, February 17, 2013

Create Your Own NaNoWriMo

Some of us write by the “seat of our pants”, having no real idea where our characters will go. Others write from a well-planned outline and steer their characters into the established plot. Everyone else falls somewhere in between. No matter which type of writer you are, you may find yourself stuck at the onset of your work, unable to get the story going, the dreaded “writer’s block”.

For me, the usual cure includes picking up a broom, cleaning out a closet, rearranging furniture or shopping for something I don’t need. I try to keep myself far away from the computer because my fingers are weary from playing Solitaire, Mahjong, or, even worse, Angry Birds! 

I’ve been told, "Schedule a time for writing." But discipline isn’t my strong suit, especially if I have no one to answer to but myself. I need public humiliation.

My current novel was born during NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month’s challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Joining a group of other writers participating in this challenge, I visited the web site every night, entered my word count, and compared it with what others had written. Seeing the sometimes unsteady rise of word totals on the site gave me the impetus I needed to keep going until I reached the magic number.  By becoming responsible to a group of people accepting the same heavy challenge I had, my excuses evaporated and I wrote. 

So, why bring this up now? November is nine months away. Not a problem. You can choose any month you wish to take up the challenge. All you need is a group of eager writers, a pledge, and an online site for all participants to do a nightly check-in with their totals. My writing group has deemed March THE MONTH. We have a Yahoo Group, a lot of excitement and ideas for new writing.

Chris Baty, who began the challenge in 1999, has written a guide book for potential challengers, “No Plot? No Problem”. He stresses that any month will work and gives some great tips to get started. Talk to your writing friends. Check out online writing groups for potential members.
Take the plunge. You’re a writer!

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