Participants: Gerald Hornsby – guest, Anita Belli, Elisa A. Bonnin, Elizabeth Holland, Ellie Holmes.
Experience in participation with NaNoWriMo varied from none to 17 years. We had a couple of experts, a couple of novices, and a couple in between.
It was agreed that the NaNoWriMo experience should be used to achieve your personal goals and if that means bending the rules to accommodate what you want to achieve then that is okay.
The commitment to write 1667 words a day throughout November can feel like unwelcome pressure, and so it is not for everyone. However, the challenge can help a writer to acquire, or get back into a writing habit.
Preparation for NaNoWriMo is recommended by our guest expert as it makes it easier to write 1667 words a day. However, if you have not yet planned in advance of this year’s NaNoWriMo then you could set yourself a lower goal of 500 words and allow time for planning as you write.
Elisa A. Bonnin, another experienced NaNoWriMo veteran said that this year she is just planning the theme and characterisation and allowing the story to unfold.
There is no harm in taking part without any plan and just writing a story to see what happens. However, don’t expect to finish NaNoWriMo with a completed novel.
Whichever approach you take, you will need to do a lot of rewriting and editing before you have a novel.
We discussed finding the time to write. Different writers favour different times of the day. Whatever time you write, you need to set aside a specific time and honour this commitment. Setting a timer and writing until it goes off. Switching off social media. Writing in short bursts of 20 mins rest for 10 and then repeat – were the methods used by the tweet-chat group.
The Pros and cons of NaNowriMo.
A deadline to work to.
A commitment to write
Daily writing habit
Getting down a story
Writing purple prose, that is no good to anyone, just to achieve the word target.
An external pressure
Unrealistic expectations of yourself
Sustaining the motivation when NaNoWriMo is over.
Writing filler material that achieves quantity but not quality.
Overall, the tweet-chat group felt it was definitely worth doing so long as you made it work for you. Elisa A. Bonnin used NaNoWriMo to complete a WIP and this became her debut novel Brave published by Swoon Reads/ MacMillan
evidence that NaNoWriMo can help you to deliver results.
You do not have to sign up for the challenge but it is worth registering on the NaNoWriMo website or you do not get any of the benefits.
has lots of resources and an online writers’ community to engage with. There are also local groups where you can connect with writers who are participating in NaNoWriMo closer to home.
You do not share the content of your writing through NaNoWriMo, you just report back on your word count periodically. Nobody judges you. It is a very supportive community. There is a forum to announce personal successes as a result of NaNoWriMo and another for marketing. The main NaNoWriMo community is a bit like attending an international convention, but the local groups within the bigger community provide better connections and engagement. It is a very supportive process with writers helping one another with plot and character development, for example.
The NaNoWriMo community is most active in October/November. However, there is also Camp NaNo in April and July which is a more flexible version of NaNoWriMo where you set your own goals.
If you are not ready for NaNoWriMo this year then you might consider the 100 words in a 100 days challenge or Flash NaNo 30 stories in 30 days. See the links below.
Links shared by our guest Gerald Hornsby:
Bookends Vodcast on NanoWriMo
Gerald Hornsby’s blog on NaNoWriMo
100 words in a 100 days Facebook group
Flash NaNo 30 stories in 30 days