Sunday Salon: NaNoWriMo

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No, not those Canadian bars.

Last year, a few months into starting this blog, I heard of National Novel Writing Month -- the attempt to, in just thirty days, write a 50,000 word novel.

I used to write quite a bit. I had a little green notebook with a sparkly cover and I wrote poems about my Barbies and my stuffed animals in it. When I got a little older, I wrote poems about the boys I had crushes on. I started several different stories, although I never finished any of them unless they were assigned for class. In college, I won a writing award -- but it was for a research paper. My writing diminished and diminished, until I wasn't even really writing in a journal anymore. I decided I was a reader, not a writer. I was content to enjoy other people's stories, not my own.

But as I started blogging, making a point to do a little bit of writing every day, I started remembering the thrill of putting words and phrases together. I still considered myself not talented enough to actually write a story, but one day I found myself surreptitiously buying one of the black marbled composition books that I used to use in my high school creative writing class and scribbling in it every so often. A few months later, an idea for a story started percolating in my head.

I've tried and tried to write the scenes from this story, and I've gotten a few down. I've even bought a few books and done a little research. But I've never gotten very far, for a few reasons. First of all, I feel like all my research has to be done, but I am not even completely sure where the story is taking me. Secondly, I keep thinking to myself, "But I'm not very good! Why spend all that time on something that will probably never be published, will probably not come to anything?"

But six months later, I'm still thinking about that story. And so I've decided to make the jump and try to do this NaNoWriMo thing. I don't know if the story will turn into anything that anyone else will want to read. I don't know if it is even remotely plausible for me to try. But I'm realizing that at this point I don't have anything to lose. I don't have to show it to anybody -- I don't even have to finish if I end up feeling like it's a waste of my time. I need to mentally remove the guilt element and just try it. I'm used to only attempting things that I know I will be good at. I don't like trying things that I could fail at. I like security.

But hey, I can encrypt documents on my computer with a password, and at any rate, if I fail, I think I'll be in excellent company. So... NaNo on.


  1. Good luck, it sounds like a good decision to start writing.

  2. Precisely the attitude you need for NaNoWrimo. Ive done it two years in a row and that first year I was exactly where you are. With an idea I wasn't sure could even be a story and the want to write it well. NaNo helped me write. period. I didn't have to think about being good, it was just about getting the story line on paper. So much fun! You feel like a crazy person... it pushes you. But it can be done and it's totally fun. I really want to do it this year just because once you NaNo you don't really stop... but I have so many things going on in my life right now that are new that I'm not sure it's wise to devote myself to the project. Plus I don't have a story idea. But who knows... I may just decide to do it the day of if I can't stay away. You definitely won't regret TRYING!

  3. Yay for NaNoWriMo! I'm glad you're going for it.

  4. I've done Nano a couple times, though I'm not participating this year. It's lost of fun! Have a great time, Lorren!

  5. I'll be attempting NaNoWriMo this year for the first time too! We should be writing buddies! :)

  6. My story's a lot like yours. I stopped writing and only recently re-started. Everyone has the negative voice. You just have to keep writing through it. And then writing through it. And then writing through it. Because the negative voice never goes away. But keep at it and good luck.

  7. I agree with you on so many points! You're right -what have we got to lose?
    And we'll gain nothing by not trying. Happy to NaNo with you!

  8. Well, good on you! Go get 'em! Give it your best, and who knows, you just might very pleasantly surprise yourself. I think it sounds like a wonderful idea, and I wish you the very best. Have fun, Lorren! Cheers! Chris

  9. Lorren, I'm proud of you for doing this. Part of me would love to write, but my fiction falls flat. If I were ever a writer, I wouldn't write novels.

    And if you ever want someone to read it, I'm always willing. . .

  10. Yay! Another NaNo friend! It's my first year and I'm afraid I won't make the requirement. It's hard to write sometimes when you've got so much planning to do. I'm in a bit of a panic since we're getting so much closer to the start. I have a lot more to plot out. :P You'll do great!

  11. Good for you! I can relate--I used to write all the time, and when I started blogging it was so much fun to be able to compose sentences again. :) I don't think my schedule would at all accommodate NaNoWriMo, so I just try to write some every day. I want to have written a novel at some point in my life, and if I don't do it now, it'll never happen (since life is but a series of "nows"). Good luck!

  12. It is difficult to do something you are not sure to succeed at, but you made a good point - there is nothing to lose if you try. I have to remind myself of that more often. Good luck with your story!

  13. I'm planning to take part in NaNoWriMo this year too. It isn't because I want to be a's just that I want to have fun with writing.:D....I've managed to rope in a friend who has real talent. We've decided to just be each other's moral support from the beginning to the end of November!

    All the best with finally flushing that plot and getting it into story format!! :)

  14. THIS IS AWESOME!!! I'm TOTALLY gonna be rooting for you! I think it is totally cool that you are going to try to NNWM!!

    Good luck!!

  15. I will read it! You are an inspiration!

  16. I'm doing NaNo for the first time this year! You read much much more than me, though, so how do you plan to balance your reading and writing?

  17. @Sam - I am excited to try! We'll see how it goes.

    @Stina - I am so impressed that you have done this! I appreciate all of your advice :-D

    @Amanda and Miss Remmers - I am so glad we are writing buddies! Hooray!

    @Jillian - Thanks for the encouragement! I am nervous... I've only done 541 words so far. But I am going to buckle down this weekend.

    @Robyn - I need to learn to ignore that negative voice. Good luck with your NaNoWriMo project!

    @Diana - Yay! Do you go to any of the write-ins? I might go to the BYU one next week.

    @Christopher - Thank you so much for your encouragement. I may have to go back and read it when I am getting discouraged!

    @Allison - I think mine might fall flat too... But I want to try! And if I ever get the story into acceptable shape once it is finished you are definitely someone I would trust to look at it and help me make it better!

    @Jessica S - Good luck! I'm already behind but still having fun!

    @Melody - I think writing every day is a great way to start! Good luck with your goals, even if they aren't NaNoWriMo this year :)

    @Pepca - Good luck with your project!

    @Risa - I think you have a great attitude about it! I think I am going to be returning to these comments all month to make myself feel better when I get discouraged.

    @Ashely - Thanks!! It makes me feel more confident knowing you are rooting for me :)

    @Kathryn - Thanks! Hopefully it will be worth reading :)

    @Laura - I think the reading is going to be slowing down quite a bit. I don't know if I have quite worked out the balance yet!


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