Monday, October 17, 2011

Can you smell the Nano in the air?

It's that time again, boys and girls.  Mostly girls though.

Yes, November is just around the corner, and I don't think I have to tell anyone what that means.  Not followers of THIS blog.  You crazy kids know the drill.  It's the annual writer version of a marathon, the literary equivalent of the Olympics, its time for you to strut your stuff, walk the walk, talk the talk, put pen to paper (in an entirely digital fashion), place butt in chair and WRITE THAT BOOK.

Oh NaNoWriMo.  That glorious one month a year, where we writerly types almost feel athletic.

Have you all been stretching your creative muscles?  Getting limber, doing your breathing exercises, loosening up those 'THIS MUST BE A BESTSELLER OR I WILL NEVER WRITE AGAIN RAWR' expectations and getting in touch with your innate love of writing?

Because that's what NaNoWriMo is, if you think about it.  It's not about a book that will get you an agent or a book deal or a house in Hawaii.  It's not about the book at all.  NaNoWriMo is about the WRITING.  It's about letting go of all the hang-ups and expectations and self-recriminations we work ourselves into a frenzy with the other eleven months out of the year.  It's about not worrying what the book will look like at the end of the month, how many drafts it'll need before its publication-ready, whether or not this is the book that'll put you on the map.  NaNo is about telling the story, in whatever way you need to in order to get it out there, and worrying about the packaging later.

It's a chance for us every year to stop, breathe, blank our minds and get back in touch with what makes us all writers in the first place....that inner drive to just sit in whatever environment suits us best, place our fingers on the keys and just let go, channel the story inside us and watch the words, thoughts, and ideas blossom on the screen in front of us.  No obsessing about the perfect beginning or perfect ending, just each word right NOW and then the one right after it and then the one after that....until all the words are out and we can write THE END and sit back, exhale, and celebrate our accomplishment, finally putting one more of the many stories rattling around in our head to bed.       

And best of all, it's a chance to do it in the company of fine friends and like-minded fools....I mean fine friends.  The ones who actually GET what the madness is all about, and celebrate the insanity of giving birth to a book with only a month for gestation.  To urge each other on and carry each other to the finish line.

So, fine followers, I ask you....are you ready for NaNo?  Do you have your story idea yet?  Plotters, are you plotting?  Pantsers, are you loosening up that belt?

I'll be doing a MG Fantasy called 'The Two Sides of Midnight', but am abstaining from plotting.  We'll see how the story takes shape on its own this time.  Should be fun.  How about you all?  What are your plans for NaNo?

For anyone partaking, I'm proposing a daily check-in on twitter, starting November 1st, using the hashtag #thisismybrainonNaNo.  Just a little something for everyone to use in a morning tweet with your wordcount thus far, an easy way to find others and urge each other on at the start of each day.  You can end the day with another #thisismybrainonNaNo tweet with how many words you've written that day, and get a flurry of feel-goods to take with you to bed, a smile on your face.  As always, you can find me on twitter at @kalenodonnell where I shall happily enable any and all of you in your drug - I mean NaNo induced frenzies.

Tick-tock goes the clock, guys!  Fifteen days til NaNo!


  1. I'm definitely participating in Nano this year. I've got my idea and started plotting, can't wait to start writing.

  2. I'm plotting like a fool! Looking forward to #thisismybrainonNano tweets :)

  3. You know I'm in. Twice, if my brain is to believed. I cannot wait to join you in madness, my friend.

    Oh wait, I already did. About ten years ago, wasn't it? Wellllll.

  4. I'm in. And I'm a total newbie--first time Nanoer. Also doing an MG fantasy. :)

  5. I'll join your twitter update :) I'm very excited to enter nano again. I'm writing a YA/MG fantasy (I won't know which until it's all out and the characters make up their minds).

  6. If I finish my current draft to where my CPs can comprehend it, then I'll do NaNo for another idea while my current MS stews.

    MG Fantasy? Sounds interesting, Kalen. Can't wait to hear more about it.

  7. @ Cheree - Hooray! Can't wait to see you in the trenches!

    @ Marewulf - Yes, go, plot, win! I look forward to your tweets as well!

    @ Katey - HAHAHAHA, yes, god, we did embark on this madness together almost ten years ago, didn't we? Huh, I wonder if there's anyway to check when I signed up for PB back in the day. Well, I was one of the first so it must have been right after you formed the board. I already knew Sue but that was my first official introduction to you.

    @cherie - Woohoo! Do you know, I've never officially done NaNo either? So we're both total newbs, and doing MG Fantasy! Rock on, goat sistah!

    @ A.M. Supinger - Yay! Tweets ahoy! And yeah, sometimes our characters do seem to take their own sweet time cluing us in on their stories.

    @Robyn - Yesssssssss! You can do it! You've got fifteen days! Dooooo it, dooooo it, dooo it!

  8. I LOVE this idea. Happy muses abound!!

    If my WIP wasn't gearing up for the big stuff I'd consider doing this--I fear if I detoured now I'd never get back on track.

    Good luck all you brave, creative souls!

  9. I am preparing by eating a lot of butterflies! (More than Cherie could possibly eat.) They will FUEL my comic YA novel. Rah! Happy to join you, Kalen!

  10. Well if you INSIST Bethany. There's always room for the rookstar though if she changes her mind!

    And yay Jenny! You're so much cooler than Beth - I mean - cough cough. So glad to have you on board! Every NaNo voyage needs a party pony!

  11. Wasn't planning on NaNoing (this will be my inaugural effort) but you have such a persuasive way of putting things. And I love your #thisismybrainonNaNo idea and the word count twitters. Now to find my thinking chapeau...

  12. Good luck to all of you NANO-warriors! *drums nails patiently while awaiting those blasted edits*