01 November 2011

NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo, and General Writing Craziness

Happy November, everybody!

This is the month when writers and aspiring authors everywhere set crazy writing goals, and sometimes achieve them.

First, the month of November is known in writing circles as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.  This is when we pledge to write a 50,000-word novel within one month's time.  It's a goal that can only be achieved by turning off that internal editor and letting the writing flow, even if it's not perfect (which, I guarantee, it won't be).  By the end of November, you should have a full first draft of your next novel (or at least the first 50,000 words of it), and presumably, you will start revising it on December 1st.  (I don't care who you are, NO ONE writes a fully polished, ready-to-publish first draft.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you something.)

I've taken up the NaNoWriMo challenge a couple of times.  The first was in 2007, when my husband and I decided to write a book together, alternating chapters.  Our idea was fun: a historical novel with a hint of time travel and a young boy who comes to understand the importance of his heritage.  Our research was solid (that was my dear husband's favorite part of the process!).  Unfortunately, the motivation wasn't quite there.  We stalled out when it was his turn to write his third or fourth chapter, and I didn't want to simply take over the project we were supposed to be working on together.  By the end of the month, our poor main character was stuck in time-travel limbo.  Hopefully, we'll go back and rescue him one of these days.

In 2008, I took up the challenge once again, sort of.  I was in the middle of a cross-country move, and I knew that November would be entirely dedicated to packing and all of the moving craziness, so I moved my NaNoWriMo up a few weeks.  I started in mid-October, counted out 30 days on the calendar, and gave myself a deadline.  I wrote my first 50,000-word novel in less than a month, and I told myself I'd have a publishing contract by the next November, at the latest.  Well, that hasn't happened quite yet, but thanks to some great advice and encouragement from an amazing editor, I've finally started working up the courage to try submitting my work, and I've gotten some positive response so far.  (Fingers crossed!)  I'm not going to make any "I'll have a contract by this date" sweeping declarations this time around, but I will promise that I'm not giving up.  I'll keep submitting and working and writing and learning until it happens.

This year, I've discovered something new.  As not all writers are novelists, we also have Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo - logo by Bonnie Adamson, isn't it great?)!  The challenge?  Come up with 30 picture book ideas in 30 days that you will then turn into actual picture book manuscripts throughout the coming year!  I've decided to accept this challenge this November and combine it with a modified NaNoWriMo challenge. 

So my goal for this November: I'll write 1,700 words each day this month, for a total of just over 50,000 words by month's end, but instead of working on something entirely new, I'm going to keep working on the projects I've already started.  I have a novel I'm already working on.  I finished the 1st draft a little more than a week ago, and if prior experience tells me anything, I'll have a lot of writing to do on that draft once I get the feedback from my first-round critique partners next week.  I also want to finish the picture book ideas I have already swimming around inside my head, to make room for the ideas I'll be adding to the mix this month!

What are your goals (writing or otherwise) for this November?

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