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  • L.M.Thornburg

Small Talk: NaNoWriMo

In case you don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. It was started in 1999 as motivation tool to complete a novel, or 50,000 words, in one month. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world now participate. There are write-in events with other writers to keep you motivated and you can even earn badges for certain accomplishments.

I think I first heard about NaNoWriMo about five years ago. I thought it sounded fun, but impossible. There was no way I could write an entire novel in only 30 days. But I was still intrigued, because if I could do that, it would be amazing.

In October, I began working on the third Charms novel, but I was really struggling with it for some reason. So I put it away to focus on a different novel that I was in the middle of editing. Then I saw a reminder that NaNoWriMo was coming up and I thought that might be the perfect solution.

I decided doing NaNoWriMo was exactly what I needed to power through and finish my rough draft. I would buckle down and only work on this novel. No other projects. I set my goal at 2500 words, or approximately ten pages a day. I know there are writers that can churn out twenty, thirty, even forty pages a day, but I am, unfortunately, not one of them. I felt ten pages was still a goal that would stretch me.

Now that I set my goal, I was going to need to figure when I would be able to write. I have four kids that have been doing online school since March, and my husband has been working from home on and off since then as well. This makes finding some quiet time to write a little bit harder.

Originally, I thought I would be able to write while the kids were doing school, but I soon found out that was almost impossible. Between their questions and need for tech support it just didn't work. I was constantly getting interrupted and that was frustrating.

The felt the only choice I had was to begin waking up a couple of hours before everyone else so I could get in a several hours of writing first thing. To some people this might be a huge sacrifice, but I've always been a morning person (not quite this early, though), so it wasn't too bad. Most days I even enjoyed it. It is a great feeling to already have written a large portion of that day's goal before the day even really begins.

So how is it going for me? I would say, quite well. With only ten days left, I just have a couple of chapters left to write, so I'm certain I will finish in the next few days. I had already written a few chapters before NaNoWriMo began, so I didn't technically write the entire novel in a month. But that's okay. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you can make it work however you need it to.

If you want to give writing a novel a shot or if you need some extra motivation, I would definitely recommend trying it next year. You never know if it will work for you unless you try.

Happy Writing,


Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

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