Monday, November 27, 2017

Do you NaNo?

Another quality post brought to you by Steve!
Hey all!  Hope you're recovering well from Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the weekend.  Today is Cyber Monday, the semi-secret holiday when everyone tries to slip by their boss that they're getting all of their online shopping done at work.

I was not at work today Cyber Mondaying.  That's because this weekend I was at Chessiecon, a delightful little sci-fi convention in the Baltimore, MD area that has become something of a holiday tradition for me and fellow Boarder Mary Fan.  I got to judge the Turkey Awards, as I have every year since Chessiecon's inception.  It's a delightful little writing-related tradition when aspiring (and not-so-aspiring) authors do their best to write their very worst first paragraph, "Eye of Argon"- style.

So what's with all this tradition talk?  Well, I can hardly believe that we've made it this far into November with scarcely a mention from our fine bloggers about NaNoWriMo, the biggest annual writer's tradition of them all.

For those who don't know, NaNoWriMo (or NaNo for even shorter) is short for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place every November.  I presume it's because November has a solid 30 days rather than 31, and is pretty well packed with holidays between Veteran's Day and Thanksgiving, which many people take a few days off work for.  And in those 30 scant days participants attempt to bang out 50,000 words, the number which is often used as the bare-bones bottom-end definition of a novel.  So many people will complete a full novel this month.  Many more will fail.  And there's no shame in failing, or, for that matter, not trying.  I'd say the only real shame, as in anything in life, is in berating those who do participate, but perhaps that's a subject for another blogpost.  In short, my feeling is if you enjoy or get something out of NaNo, then bully for you, and if you don't, well, also bully for you but don't feel obligated to degrade those who do.

Now I've participated in NaNo (and won!) every year since 2009.  Of my novels, BRAINEATER JONES, THE GHOUL ARCHIPELAGO, BILLY AND THE CLONEASAURUS, HUNTER OF THE DEAD, and SLASHVIVOR! were all NaNo babies, at least in part.  So you see I get a lot of writing done during this event each year.  (And for the newbies out there: not a one of those was "finished" on December 1 - I spent solid years in some cases editing each.)

This year I was up to some real hijinks.  I'm working on a haunted house collaboration with Wile E. Young that will hopefully blow all of your socks off when it comes out, and my own piece about secret police in a near-future semi-dystopian America.  So how did things go for me this year?  Well, let's take a look:

These are my stats as of today, the 27th, so they're a bit off.  I wrote about 2500 words a day up until the 17th.  The 17th I absolutely crapped out and wrote about 400 words.  Then I didn't improve much on the 18th, only adding 1400 words or so.  The 20th was similarly crummy.  Then I got my groove back and completed 50,000 words on the 22nd.

So, of the 22 days I wrote I averaged 2280 words per day.  I can't say this is usual - I often have more ups and downs.  This is one of the least wacky NaNos I've ever done, having in the past made up for writing a hundred words one day by writing 5000 the next.  Slow and steady wins the race, though, I suppose.  This is pretty much exactly what I'd like my NaNo chart to look like each year (barring the three fall-down-on-my-face days, but everybody has those now and then, I suppose.)  Ideally, I'd always like to be done by Chessiecon so it doesn't hang over my head that weekend.

The greatest thing about NaNo is, (for me, at least) that it's over.  I can go back to writing on my own schedule, and not leaving my girlfriend an effective novel widow.  But there are still four solid writing days left for NaNo participants.  So I'd like to know: how are you looking this year?  Did you participate?  Will you finish on time?  

What are your thoughts on the process?  Do you enjoy it?  Hate it but do it anyway to be one of the cool kids?  What do your stats look like?  What have been your wackiest stats over the years?  Let me know in the comments below!


Mary Fan said...

Oh NaNo... a useful kick in the pants, but also so stressful when you've got a million other things going on! I'm soooo behind...

Carrie Beckort said...

Great job at banging out those words! I've never participated in NaNo. November is always way too busy for me. I think I'd like to try it sometime though. Mainly because it's so outside my writing style I think it'd be good for me to try something new and fast paced.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

I have heard a lot about this practice of speed writing. Some love it and others not so much. I would like to try it some time and see if it's a good fit for me. I like the idea of getting the words down and then spending time editing at your own pace. Great Post!

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