Sunday, November 9, 2014

NaNoWriMo Update #1: My Dad is the Best, My Brain Hurts, and We're Just Getting Started

Hello! We are now officially just a little over a week into National Novel Writing Month - aka, NaNoWriMo - and I figured I'd do a little bit to check in with you all on my progress, just to show you all how I've been doing with the challenge!

While NaNo has been tearing up the book blogosphere for a solid couple of years now on a popular level, I've still been able to get quite a bit of practice in answering questions about exactly what I'm doing:

National Novel Writing Month is a 30 day challenge, taking place during the month of November each year, in which NaNo participants pledge to write at least 50,000 words (the rough equivalent of an average-sized novel). The programs run through the challenge are meant to prompt and sponsor creativity, community, and, of course, education, with accompanying challenges ran for children in school "from Dubai to Boston."

Basically, it's a bunch of nerds across the county, and world, getting together and saying, "Hey, I want to write a novel! You do, too? Let's do it together, right NOW."

And it's fantastic. 


So, I haven't attempted NaNoWriMo since my freshman year of high school, where I took a general (kinda juvenile) idea of mine - involving a creepy cabin in the forest, a tenuous knowledge of how integrated computer systems work, and plenty of nightmares about shady government organizations - to the mat. Subsequently, I failed about four days into the challenge, when I grew too overwhelmed, and gave up. 

Since then, I've had plenty of friends win their own challenges, but I hadn't been really inspired to complete my own again until last year. I had been sitting on a really great book idea, but was stunted, once again, by the fact that I didn't have a cohesive outline ready for its actual plot line. Instead of taking on the challenge itself, I pledged myself to working harder on my schoolwork and on the blog during the month of November... but unfortunately, that didn't happen either. 

What did happen, however, was that a couple of days into the month, I was struck with genius lightning, and hand-wrote a single-spaced, six page outline in a two-hour time period. I couldn't really use my right hand for the rest of the day, but I at least now I had a story. 


Fast-forward to this year. I still wasn't planning on undertaking the challenge, but I kept alluding to it to specific friends of mine, who encouraged me to try. After breaking down after a particularly grueling midterm, I ended up taking out an old journal full of book ideas, and reading every single synopsis to my best-friend-slash-roommate, who made me promise that I was actually going to try and write one. 

Therefore, despite the fact that this November is busier than any month I've encountered since first coming to college - and no, that is not an exaggeration by any means, in the slightest - I'm going ahead with the challenge. And honestly, I couldn't be any happier about it! 

Sure, it's been a little rough so far. I didn't even manage to get started writing until Day Two, and my writing habits have grown in fits and starts since then, but as you can tell with the above chart, I've had a really good weekend for writing. In yesterday and today alone, I've managed to write 7,071 words, on top of taking care of my homework for the week, celebrating my best friend's 21st birthday, and writing up a speech to give at the University of Washington Panhellenic Elections this upcoming Wednesday (as well as watch 8 episodes of Veronica Mars, but who's counting that?). 

That's right, Panhellenic Elections. I'm expected to give a speech in front of about 200 people on Wednesday, and that's only after I had to write a six-page application for the positions, complete with resume, essay answers, and a sample of my work. 

Plus, I've got another College Fashion article due this upcoming Sunday afternoon that I haven't even started brainstorming yet. I've got a general idea for what direction I'm going to take it, but with everything else going on in my life, it's going to be pretty difficult to find the time to really enjoy the source material. (Can you guess the novel? Here's a hint: it has to do with recent Netflix news...) 

And that's not even really schoolwork: by this Friday, I have my section of a group paper due, as well as three assignments due for a Communications class, and several English readings to catch up on! 

Needless to say, this challenge is going to be just that for me: a damn difficult challenge. However, I think I'm starting to get invested enough into my own story that I'd hate to see it left unfinished, especially when I've already made such headway into writing it! All I've got to do now is keep up the good work, and I'll be sitting pretty come Thanksgiving Weekend. 


  • I'm not kidding when I say my Dad is the best. Sure, I've got writing buddies tackling their own set of demons with NaNo, but no matter how few or many words I manage to eke out in a day, if I text my Dad my Stats, he's sure to reply with an exuberant, encouraging message. Thanks, Dad! 
  • It is incredibly difficult to write with music with words in them, but I could have told you that just from my many years of homework struggles. Still, I wish there was a playlist full of music to get me into the mood to write! Until then, I just have to listen to Taylor Swift's 1989 album on repeat... 
  • I couldn't get through this without Twitter. Between NaNoWriMo's incredibly encouraging own Twitter, and the many legions of fellow bloggers taking part in their own challenges, I've also got publishers tweeting about their new releases, and Team Epic Reads taking part in YALLFest this past weekend, to remind me of why it's so important to me to be a part of this community. It seems like everyone's got 140 characters to sacrifice from their word counts for the day. Go NaNo! 
  • I think I've achieved a higher state of consciousness with writing. I wrote this whole blog post - about 1,000 words - in about a half an hour! 

So, that's what I've seen in the past week and a half. See you at my next check in!

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