Monday, November 12, 2012

Why I take part in NaNoWriMo

Thanks Sam

Okay, so I totally had the intention to do this epic "Why I do NaNoWriMo" post and to have it scheduled to post on day one of National Novel Writing Month. Yeah ummm *points to date of this post* if you hadn't figured it out by umm knowing what the calendar looks like right now, I will out right state: Epic Fail!

Not only did I not get this post written in time, but I didn't even get it done before I reached 50,000 words. Yeah, I won NaNo already and I haven't written the post on why I take part in the activity in the first place as I had planned. I really did intend to have it written, I promise but well, here we are on day 12 and I'm just now writing it and for the sole purpose of taking part in a half hour sprint when the section of my novel (yeah, i'm still writing after 52k in 10 days) didn't have a section at the moment that was sprint worthy. But that's okay, right? Right. Cause I say so.

But back to the promise I made to myself that none of you knew about but I'm pretending you knew about in order to make my hopefully 2k words in 30 minutes make sense and to get that word count somehow anyways even though it won't count towards my nanowrimo count.... Yeah, I admit that made no sense. The promise! I did start a blog post for my Why I Write for NaNoWriMo topic. I really did. I put in the title, a greeting and a picture of a fish and well, that is as far as I got before November 1st when I started writing.

And for those that wonder why there is a fish at the top of this picture, well it's because of the awesomeness that is Dory from Finding Nemo. She has a saying that goes "just keep swimming" so a close friend of mine gave me the idea that I needed an image with the phrase "just keep writing" and one of my other friends actually made the image for me. Thanks Sam! even though you never read my blog, I'm thanking you twice in this post anyways. So, yeah, now my signature when I do posts on Writing.Com in relation to NaNoWriMo, I have this picture of Dory that says Just Keep Writing and I love it. (just keep swiming, Dory montage) This is another fun thing to look at. I like the picture in part because it says to write but also in part because of her expression. Poor Dory looks so lost and confused but she's encouraging no matter what. So, I look at that picture and say to myself, just keep writing. It must be working because I'm at around 58k right now, and will have 60k before I go to bed tonight.

Now, after that long ramble, back to the topic and maybe even though it seems a little obvious at this point, I will give you all who may or may not even be curious about the answer to the big question of today's post.

Why do I, Dawn Embers, take part in National Novel Writing Month?

Because it's Awesome! and.... because I'm crazy.

That is pretty much the basics of the answer. I love national novel writing month and the strange challenge to try and write 50,000 words in one month even though I do honestly write off and on all year long. There is something great about a community geared event where a large number of writers in combined force get together and reach towards the same goal of writing a novel (well novella but honestly novella writing month just doesn't have the oomph of novel writing month) all at the same time during November. I like that. I come from a small town where if there are 3 people who are writing and willing to admit it out loud, that is saying a lot. Granted it's a little different now that I'm living near Portland which has one big artsy writerly community, but the small town world is what I spent most of my life in and being anti-social, I get most of my socialization from writing outlets like and the NaNoWriMo Site. So, I think it's great.

And well, let's be honest. Anyone who tries to write 50,000 words in a month is a tad crazy. The ones that do it in 15 days are a bit nuts, and well, I'm flat out insane. Last year I did it in 11 days and since I got off to a good start this year even though I'm writing a freaking young adult novel (see vent elsewhere) I managed to keep a steady pace of 5,000 words plus or minus a thousand words a day. Which, is what led me to my 52,000 words in 10 days for 2012. I have no problem admitting that this is completely insane but I will also point out that my goal is to write the whole novel in one month and since my novel is a fantasy (even though it's also young adult) the novel wasn't going to be under 80k. In fact, it was supposed to be 80k but now I'm guessing the end result will be over 120k so I had better keep writing once I get this blog post done.

The real question may be why do I try to take part in it almost every year, with crazy writing goals like 100k or so. Why do I try to write new novels when I have 5 novels that are in first draft stage? Why do I start new ones when I need to edit the novels I wrote the years before? Will I ever do anything with those novels? How can they be any good if I write them within a single month?

Wow, talk about question overload. My apologies for this blog being so long (but hey, 2k words yay!) Okay, I will answer them in sections because I asked the questions and even if only one person cares about the answers, oh well. That's what happens when you follow a blog about writing, especially the one dedicated to my person writing only. hahaha I mean, thank you!

Why do I try to write new novels when I have others going?

Well, I think this is another question where the simple answer is this: I'm just that crazy! Yes, I like to multi-task and I'm used to having many ideas in my head because even when I'm writing one idea, I am often thinking about all my other ideas in my head. When I'm not writing, then I'm daydreaming about all of my ideas, though usually one at a time, in order to keep them fresh and the ones I think about the most, that draw my attention the most are the ones that get written. But those are never single novels, there are several ideas that I think are so great that I want to write them. I don't have a single one idea that I think about the most in comparison to some of the others. I don't have one novel that screams out to me "I'm the one!" Nope. I have several ideas that I love, that I want to be writing, so during most of the year, I work on more than one at a time. Only during these crazy mad dash months (national novel writing month, march novel writing challenge, even a couple failed camp nanowrimo attempts) do I even bother trying to write on a single novel at a time, and even then it doesn't always happen. Last year, for example, while I wrote 125k for the month, I was actually working on more than one novel for that count. I am just that kind of writer. I need more than one story to work on or else I struggle. It's just how I function. Sure, I wish I could be the one that dedicates all their time to a single novel and is able to get the book out and edited within 3 years, but that's not me at this point. Instead, I will continue to work on several novels and get them done some day.

Next question: Why start a new novel when I have so many going?

Besides looking at the above answer, I will admit this is not always the case. Well, for nanowrimo I have a tendency to start a new novel because the "rules" require it be a new novel. However, I do have a group on that is dedicated to people who want to be rebels and maybe write on novels they had already started or that want to write towards a different word count (like 20k in a month, or 30k, or maybe even editing instead of writing that month) and that group is year around. However, for like the March writing challenge I have attempted a few different years, I haven't always started new novels. In fact, the year that I first wrote 50k in less than 30 days was in 2010 when I worked on a novel I was already 15k into before the month started. I had planned to write 25000 words for the month, so that seemed reasonable as it wasn't nanowrimo. But then by the end of day 12 I discovered I was already at 35k and if I wrote 15k in three days, then I would be able to say that I had written 50k in 15 days. So I did. That month I ended up writing 65k total and that novel ended up being my first novel that was long enough, ending at about 90k. I'm going to be editing that novel in December after I finish this crazy version of young adult fantasy that I have going on right now. So, there are times when I don't go crazy and start yet another new novel. I do use month challenges throughout the year to try and get an already started draft done.

Why do new ones instead of editing?

This answer question is a little different than the ones above because I can't be fun and play crazy. The truth is editing is hard and it represents a new stage for me. While I have worked as an editor for a small publishing company and for a college newspaper, and I have edited my writing to a small degree like fixing the glaring typos (which I do during nanowrimo too, I even delete and fix things when I do these silly writing sprints. I'd be so much further if I didn't use that delete button but it would be so much worse too). I have never actually edited a full novel before and as much as I hate to admit it, the thought intimidates me a little but that will end soon. I spent part of this year, in february and beyond getting my edit notes ready for 2 of my novels. The only reason I let myself start writing a new novel this year was on the sole idea that I would get it done and then in December I would not be allowed to work on any new first drafts. That's right, after national novel writing month ends this year, I will not be working on a first draft until 2013, assuming the world doesn't end before then. I am going into editing mode as of December 1st. I will edit my 2 novels, I will make the writing something that is readable for my beta readers and I will start to get ready for the next stage in this crazy writing life. I am going to get something ready to submit to agents. Granted I started one of the novels back in 2007 so it has taken me a really long time but that is one thing that I have found nanowrimo has also helped with. It has proven something to me and that is this one fact:

I can write.

Sure, it's not the greatest thing in the world but I know not to submit my first drafts and hopefully soon I will be able to say this:

I can rewrite.

I can edit.

I can submit.

And I hope you all are still here to cheer me on.

(And yes, if you are curious: When I wrote this blog post using write or die, I managed to write 2k in 30 minutes.)

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