NaNoWriMo: It's Time to Step Up and Accept the Challenge

It's that time of the year when the air is crisp, roads are lined with a gorgeous flaming foliage, and writers worldwide prepare to be thrust into the hellish adrenaline rush of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately referred to as NaNoWriMo.

30 days of scraping every single spare moment to reach the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 words.

What? You think this doesn't sound like that big of a deal? Did you miss my reference to hell?

My friends, we're talking about a brand spanking new manuscript. A novel the writer has done nothing more than (hopefully) plotted out. When November 1st hits, writers everywhere glue their fingers to the keyboard and create the very first sentence that will lead them on a journey to fill over 100 typed pages. 100 pages! When was the last time you heard a student complain because he had to write a 10 page report in three weeks? They are wimps compared to the awesomeness of NaNoWriMo competitors.

But . . . but. . . . but . . . 

No excuses! You CAN do this! And over the next few weeks, I'm going to blog about HOW you can reach, conquer, and surpass the NaNoWriMo 50K goal. Now, repeat after me:




Now get your mouse over here and click on this link to sign up for NaNoWriMo!

There are a few important things you need to do while you're on the NaNoWriMo site:

  1. TIME ZONE: Under the tab "My NaNoWriMo", go to "Edit User Settings". It's very important that you set your Time Zone. If you don't set it correctly, it can totally backfire on you. Especially if you're in the final hour of NaNoWriMo and finally hit your 50K goal, then go to verify your win on the official website . . . and you realize you put in your time zone wrong and your account is closed. I know people who've had this happen and it's major, major suckage. So do it now, do it right, and then you can do the Happy Happy Dance and claim all your fabulous prizes at the end of the month.
  2.  YOUR REGION:  "Set My Home Region". Here you can choose the region closest to you and join. There are a couple of reasons to do this. It's fun to see how many writers are in your area. You can also track how many words your area has written compared to other areas. The best part is your region sets up Write Ins. These are locations where the region captains have talked with businesses, libraries, etc to set up times for NaNoWriMo participants to come together. There's quiet writing time, a bit of socializing and - my favorite part - writing sprints! Last year, my goal was to attend two Write Ins each week - and they were totally worth it!
  3. NOTIFICATIONS: Under the tab "My NaNoWriMo", go to "Set My Notifications". The automatic settings have you unsubscribed to all notifications. I recommend that you subscribe to the Prep Talks, NaNo Videos, and your region emails.

There are some fun things you can do while on your NaNoWriMo account, too. You can fill out your author info, give a blurb about your book, and connect with other Writing Buddies. Towards the end of October, check out the Fun Stuff tab. There you'll find updated badges to post on your blog or website, a word count widget, and other great stuff.

Update from NaNoWriMo website:

Drumroll please.... On October 7 at 10 AM Pacific, we are merging the user databases of the old and new websites in preparation for Monday's launch. (Ten Ten! Fist pump!)
That is a fancy way of saying that if you update your profile, novel info, or user settings after 10 AM Pacific on Friday, your changes won't show up when the site launches on Monday.

So, if you haven't signed up for NaNoWriMo yet, wait until Monday morning. Be sure to put it on your phone's calendar, sticky note attached to your monitor, or whatever works best for you to remember to get it done!  =)


Would you like to comment?

Lacie Myers said...

I have been wanting more info about this, and today it appeared! Thank you for excellent and info-filled post.

Betsy Love said...

For us newbies to NaNo you should include a link to the NaNo page. :D

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hey Betsy - The link is in the post where it says "Click on this link to sign up for NaNoWriMo!" That's the link to the NaNoWriMo page. I did just get a tweet from NaNoWriMo saying their site is going through an update and will be down for the next 30 minutes. So try to sign up later this afternoon.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Thanks for all that. I did NaNo last year. Epic fail, but it was because I made a plot change and got stumped (and distracted by the newest Wheel of Time book release). I'm going to do better this year.

Danyelle Ferguson said...

My first year, I didn't make it to the 50K, but I was happy to have made progress with what I did get written. So don't consider it a failure to not hit the 50K! Every word makes a difference - even if we do end up going back and changing the plot. =)

Lisa Swinton said...

I may plunge in and join you this year. Contemplating it.

Stephonie said...

You aren't kidding, hellish!
You couldn't pay me to do NaNoWriMo this year. Or maybe ever again. Well, maybe when my daughter is older. Actually we are doing our Novel in a Month now. We started Oct. 1. We have 7 scenes finished and well over 13,000 words. The other night my husband informed me that I haven't been very nice to be with and my 3 yr old keeps asking me, "Mamma, do you love me?" probably because I have pretty much ignored her.
Here's a link to my blog. I update when I have time or a more accurate word count.
If you scroll down to the announcement post you can watch some awesome NaNo videos and see why, even though there's two of us, why this is more grueling and time consuming than the average writer's experience.

Good Luck!! I know it will be grueling but you can do it! =)

Canda said...

I'm in again this year. Great post to get the excitement.

Heather Justesen said...

I'm in again and just signed up for this year. Now I've finished the first draft of the WIP I was doing in September and October, I really need to do my prep work for my nano project.