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Official banner by Andrea Floren

It’s that time of year again, where the nights are closing in, the temperature drops and people start looking thinking about the renewal of the year and looking onwards towards longer days. In the month of November some of us take time to write like demons and undertake the challenge of NaNoWriMo – and write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I intend to make another attempt at this. Will you take up the creative challenge too?

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) has a ‘simple’ goal – from 1st November to the 30th participants aim to write a 50,000 words towards a first novel draft, mostly with the aim to prove to the doubting voice in themselves that “Yes I can”. It’s a daunting goal, especially when trying to fit it in amongst a life with responsibilities and other expectations, but with some thought it can be done (granted my more successful attempts were done when I was a student, but nevermind!).

There are planning resources available on the NaNoWriMo website under NaNoPrep and you can find this year’s Facebook and Twitter banners / icons on the NaNo flair page, which is where I got this blog post’s header from. There is a booklet that has been supporting the last 6 weeks of prep time to help you out a foundation in place to sketch out a novel idea you feel you can work with through the month which has some hints and tips that are still useful if you’re only just thinking about taking up the challenge. I found a few things that worked for me over this year’s Camp NaNoWriMos (that I’ve been trying to use again for November) from this prep course. The preparation isn’t necessary, sometimes writing by the seat of your pants is part of the fun, but I found I had more enjoyment writing my July project when I had a vague plan of where I was going. Vague being the best word.

Last year I made a concerted effort to try, so I’m going to try again.

Declaring my project

Part of this blog is about tracking my creative endeavours and to provide some accountability for challenges like this. So here is my declaration.

Made by Andrea Floren

Title: Tanglewood
Genre: Fantasy
Synopsis: ??? (I honestly don’t know what this story is going to be and don’t want to declare a core idea just yet)

HOW AM I TACKLING NANOWRIMO?

Previous attempts at NaNoWriMo have used a software called  Liquid Story Binder XE by Black Obelisk Software which I love but don’t know how to use to it’s full potential. Instead this time I’m going to use a notebook and Googledocs to track my thoughts and my word count, as these are accessible anywhere for me. Sitting down at my computer last November caused me to freeze up and hampered what time I had, though April and July showed me that working through my smartphone awoke a little of my old creativity.

Being realistic with myself I hope to write 30 days worth of something, be it only a few words here or there. I doubt I’ll be churning out the necessary words a day to hit the ultimate goal of 50,000 words. But if I write small and write each day, maybe something will start. This idea is one I’ve had for a number of years and it deserves time to explore, though I think I’ve finally found my way into the idea. And that’s exciting for me.

I also take heart from the advice author Garth Nix put up on his website a while ago about the nine stages of a novel. The link goes to a fan site, but contains the contents of the advice, but I include the titles below:

  1. Daydreams and Musing
  2. A Small Vision
  3. Building the Bones
  4. That First Chapter
  5. The Long, Hard Slog
  6. Sprinting Home
  7. Rest and Revision
  8. Revulsion and Dejection
  9. Parting Company

His musings on the topic are enlightening to his way of writing (especially since I love his books), but also give hope to those of us who are still aspiring writers or just want to put pen to paper and get the ideas out.

I hope you consider joining in your own NaNoWriMo attempt. There’s still time to sign up and declare your project and find your community. As for me I intend to make a stab at a creative effort across 30 days regardless of word count. See you on the other side.