It’s midnight and I’m sitting in a 24-hour Bosa Donut in Tempe, AZ. I’m not drunk and this isn’t drunk food, even though it’s Halloween night and that would be a perfectly reasonable explanation.
It’s NaNoWriMo time! November is National Novel Writing Month and is the ultimate writing challenge (and social event).
What is NaNoWriMo? A 30-day challenge to write 50,000 words (the classic format for this is to start and finish a novel in that 30 days and 50,000 words, but there are no rules, just your imagination). They have a website (nanowrimo.org) so it’s obviously a real thing!
Do you actually get published? Usually no, though some success stories include books like Water for Elephants, The Night Circus, and the Cinder series. Real, published authors even use it as a writing exercise. If you “win” (by writing 50,000 words) you don’t get anything except a sense of accomplishment and a great community, so it’s really up to you if you want to try.
Why do I do it? I almost entirely do it for the community. I’ve moved to both Hong Kong and New York City without knowing a single person in the city and had the amazing fortune of attending a few NaNoWriMo events and leaving with new friends and a social group. It’s been a priceless resource for me.
There’s always the creative aspect as well. I like creating something and I’m more than happy to join and support my best friend in pursuing her passion.
This year’s goal:
I will finish the traditional 50,000 words this month! I’ve done abbreviated NaNo’s in the past (usually 30K), but that always seems to give me permission to fail right from the start, so this year I’m holding myself to the official goal.
I’m also going to tackle Reverse NaNoWriMo as a way to be more effective and offset Week 3 problems, which I’m always affected by.
This year’s story:
The first part will be a multitude of blog posts. If I write 50K of blog posts, that’d be fine with me. I’ve given myself no rules on content, length, or style, though I do have a list of prompts at hand.
The second part is largely optional, but I’d like to finish the first (or many) Bunny Abroad children’s book. I have the first few hundred words started but since the entire book will be a mere 8K, it is theoretically possible to just sit and crank it out in a single weekend. Having failed dozens of times to do just that, I’ve given myself no lofty expectations regarding this goal. Merely that if I’m interested in writing it, I have the materials ready, but if not then I’m more than happy to write blog posts or short stories.
This year thus far:
The night started around 10PM when we got lost trying to find the Bosa Donut shop. It’s new, so Google and Apple Maps were giving conflicting directions. Even a phone call to the shop didn’t help—the employee on the other end of the line had no idea what the crossroads were.
The three of us (Becki, Paige, and I) eventually found it though, and there were plenty of people already there. As all good NaNoWriMo write-ins should, it started with socializing. I love WriMos, we’re all such geeks and so enthusiastic about everything and have such a wide range of passions.
We played a few rounds of Mad Libs and a modified Scattergories (both literary themed!) to get us in the word-crafting mood. With just minutes to midnight, I bought another donut, refilled my Diet Coke, and opened my laptop for the first time tonight (it’s a bit old, I have, at best, 2 hours of battery life).
It’s now 12:27AM on November 1st, and I’ve been writing for most of the 27 minutes of this day and reached 823 words as of right now. I’ve also eaten my third donut for the night, cinn-twist, and have to grant it a mere 6/10. [Please note that the donut pictured above is not the cinn-twist, but rather the cinnamon crumble donut, which gets a 10/10 always.] It’s nowhere near as good as the cinnamon crumble [see picture above] and I think the overload of sugar before eating this one has adversely affected my perception because it was just disappointing all the way through.
I’m also disappointed with myself because I was (and still am) trying to cut back on sugar. And it wasn’t even that good.
This (very early) morning’s final word count: 1,499