November is shaping up to be a very busy month for me. After four years of threatening to do it I finally signed up for NaNoWriMo. What ia NaNoWriMo you ask? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every year thousands of writers sign up and take the challenge of writing a novel of at least fifty thousand words. In 2013, over 310,000 people took up the challenge. I imagine that the number of participants will be similar, if not more, for 2014
Why NaNoWriMo Matters
I find the concept behind NaNoWriMo to be great because it encourages people to basically stop the excuses, get off their butts and start creating something. As an overly-analytic person by nature I can relate to the whole idea behind NaNoWriMo. My "natural state" is one of analysis and deliberateness. For most of my life I was happy to live in my natural state and didn't give much thought to the part of my brain that might be able to unleash some small amount of creativity. I was slightly creative as a kid, playing trombone in the school band but beyond that I was far from being labeled "a creative".
My Creative Side Takes Hold
As I got into my late thirties I dabbled a bit in trying to learn to play the guitar. I mostly enjoyed it but found it too complicated for my limited coordination. It did get me thinking a bit more about the creative side of me, which was a good thing.
Flash forward 10 years......
In 2010 I actually decided that (after a few years of thinking about it) I would write a book. I commited myself to the process and followed it through to the end. The result was Beyond the Twelve-Ounce Curl: The Beer-Lover's Guide to Having Your Brew and Being Fit, Too! which I self-published and made available on Amazon. In the nearly five years since the book has been available it has been a steady seller and I have made back all of my investment in editing, artwork, etc. ( a couple thousand dollars in total) plus I earn a little extra money each month. It was a very fun experience and I think the book has been helpful to a number of people, which makes me feel great. Check it out if you want and don't feel any pressure to buy more than say 25 or fifty copies :-)
Channeling My Inner Novelist
Even though I wrote and published a book, it was non-fiction. I've always wanted to write a work of fiction and that's how I came to sign up for the 2014 edition of NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping that it will get me back on track with writing and allow me to at least get something written down that I can refine/build upon to hopefully complete a work of fiction.
So, now that I signed up for NaNoWriMo, what in the hell am I going to write about? Well, I've always wanted to write a mystery/thriller so I've put some thought into it and have come up with a basic concept/plot, some characters and a working title. I won't reveal any exact details yet, and maybe never will :-) But, I will keep you updated with my progress as I move through the month. 50,000 words in 30 days is definitely a challenge. It will require me to really dedicate some of my precious time to the task. One of the good things is that Daylight Saving time goes away on Nov 1st so it will be dark outside at 6PM meaning I won't be tempted to be outside in the evening. Even with that I'm going to have to write whenever I get a free minute. The good thing is that the object of NaNoWriMo isn't to have a finished novel but rather a "working" 1st draft that can be refined at a later date. The whole objective is to simply get people writing, not editing their writing as they write. I think in order to be successful I will have to turn off my "inner critic" and just let the words flow.
What I'm Using To Write My Novel
I have done some research and have decided to try LitLift, which is a FREE (a key feature) cloud-based writing software. I've spent about a hour looking at the features and so far it seems to do what I need it to do. It allows you to build out characters, a plot as well as organize your writing by chapters, etc. I think it should work fine and allow me to use whatever computer I'm at to move me towards my 50,000 word goal.
Does this sound interesting to you? If so, head on over to NaNoWriMo and sign up! It's completely free and you have nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain. If you sign up and want to add me as a "writing buddy", my username is "ruleof72". Hopefully I'll see you there!
Stay tuned for updates as the month moves along. In the meantime if you want to see my progress be sure to check out the widget on the right sidebar near the top. It will update as the month goes by.