NaNoWriMo Stole My Soul!


I’m sure you’ve noticed I’ve been a little blog MIA.  I’m still alive, I’m just owned by NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The month of November is a month filled with reckless abandon, pure insanity, and a whole lot of fun.

The goal: 50,000 words towards a novel in 30 days.

The outcome: 50,000 words in dire need of editing and questionable sanity.

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with just a handful of people who spread across the globe to hundreds of thousands of people in 2011. I am just one of those people.

I began NaNoWriMo in 2006, learning about it just days before November 1. Every year I participate in some form or another. Every year I made my goal. I hope to do so again this year.

I met a small group of fellow writers that first year, and now we have our own Fredericksburg, VA Region.  Over 300 people joined our fledgling region this year. For the record, we have the best Municipal Liaisons ever. People should feel green with envy.

The first meeting I attended was in Panera. Since then, we’ve had quite the adventures through town. We crashed a political party at a sandwich shop and scored some free food.  We all wrote our coffee shop hangout into our novels.  Can we ever forget the Altoids challenge?

Two years ago a librarian at the high school by my house asked if I would come and help a group there.  Since then I look forward every year to visiting with the teens and encouraging them through their own writing process. I’ve seen some of these kids grow and mature and fall in love with writing.

Encouraging the rising generation of novelists is a gift that I treasure. One of these youths will one day be on the NY Times Bestseller List and I will cheer for them while I stand in line to get an autographed copy of their book.

The goal this year?

I decided to Rebel. Official NaNo rules state that you must start a fresh project and then write 50k words. Works in Progress need not apply. That said, they run a Rebel forum on the official boards, knowing that not everyone is in a place to start a new project on November 1. We Rebels choose where to expend our energies.  That is how I finished Juan of the Dead in 2008.

Since finishing Juan, I’ve been the ultimate of slackers. I despise editing. With every fiber of my being. I understand that I need to read through Juan, clean it up, prepare it to go out into the world. I just dread it. So I put it off. I idly pick it up and try, but never make it past chapter 4.

Let’s not even talk about the NaNo projects from ’06, ’07, ’09, or ’10.

I’m not stupid or crazy enough to consider editing five NaNoWriMo projects in one month. However, I thought to myself, “What if I put forward all that effort I usually give in writing towards the editing process?”  I figured I could finish one and hopefully a second.  At least close enough to a second that I could see the end.

Thus my 2011 NaNo Rebel Project was born. The goal: Edit Singles Ward and start on Juan. I will attempt to complete the editing process of Juan leaving me with the last 10,000 words to fix. They involve an extensive re-write. With Thanksgiving, I’m not sure if I can finish all of Juan, but my hope is to get at least 2/3rds of the way through.

So far, I’m on target.  Singles Ward proved a good warm up for me. I’m struggling with hating the process, but I’m editing away. I’ve edited more than ever before. I’m slated to finish on November 15, as hoped.

Somewhere along the way, I signed up for a Steampunk class through a sideshoot of Romance Writers of America. Though unintended, a began a new project. The good news, I can use that as word count at the end of the month.  The other good news, I can still have some creative writing fun with the word sprints, word wars, and Write or Die that I love in November.

The bad news: it is hard to do both projects at once. I’m not sailing through word count, in fact I’m struggling to keep the word count for the day goal. It’s OK. I’m close, and my Rebel project is going well. I consider myself a success.

So pardon my MIA status. I’m here, I’m just busy. Mostly, I’m having fun!

Enjoy your November! Now, I should be writing…

–Lady O

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  1. […] that I finished editing and revising roughly 70,000 words of Juan of the Dead in the second half of November. Now I’m in the midst of rewriting the conclusion so I can roll into revising the sequel. Of […]



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