Let’s Discuss – Do you NaNoWriMo

November 7, 2014 Let's Discuss 15

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From the time that I was eight years old and won the Young Authors writing competition for my grade, I have wanted to be an author. I’ve had stories brewing in my head for years, but I’ve never managed to get more than a chapter on paper. In college I took a short story class and I wrote some of those, but I’ve never gotten anywhere even remotely close to writing a novel.

So, this year, I decided to take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo, and let me tell you it has been terrifying. I have always suffered from a lack of confidence (in certain areas), and so the idea of writing a book is about the most daunting thing ever in the universe to me. I’ve always been frozen by the idea that it might not be good enough. That the idea wasn’t strong enough, that the characters aren’t going to end up being the right type of people, that I will be able to write a beginning and an end … but all that stuff in between? …

Yeah, terrifying.

I have a total ADHD personality, and finishing things is not my forte – at least not unless I have a looming deadline and someone expecting results (It’s not like I’m leaving my editing jobs half done!). So, I actually think that NaNoWriMo is the very best thing for me, though, because I just have to keep writing. I’m forcing myself not to obsess over whether that one word I used is perfect or every sentence makes grammatical sense, or even whether or not I actually know what’s going to happen next. I just need to write (and then I’ll obsess over all that stuff later in the editing process). I certainly won’t have a full book when my 50,000 words are over, but I’m hoping that if I meet this goal, I’ll be able to keep myself motivated enough for the next one.

The book that I’m writing has evolved over the years from a fantastical adventure game that my neighborhood friends and I used to play as a kid – where we were aliens with special powers who had one year to save the world. There were six or so of us (sometimes more) that played almost every day – usually in my neighbor’s backyard, where we would climb his willow tree and use the swingset as a fort and and avoid “attacks” from his giant St. Bernard. I had super-eyesight, which didn’t seem quite cool enough, so eventually, I manipulated the game so that I could see the future (I was usually the one who would come up with the plots for our little adventure games – this was actually just one of many, and not even the most elaborate). When I was a teenager (or maybe a pre-teen), I decided that our adventures needed to be turned into a book, and so I wrote one. I honestly don’t remember if I finished it – either way, it wasn’t very long or elaborate, but the idea always stuck. I needed to get it on paper. (Of course, the idea has morphed A LOT over the years, but it’s still based on that original childhood game).

Anyway, the book now involves a fantasy world where technology is forbidden and a group of teens with special abilities (tied to the elements) who are prophesied to save the world from a dangerous technology that has been developed in secret. The story is told from the POVs of two of the girls – Lislia, who has “my” enhanced eyesight, and Kalindra, who has telekenetic powers and also happens to be deaf. Okay, so that’s not the most compelling synopsis, but this is the first time that I’ve even attempted to put down on paper (or computer, I suppose) what the book is about. Once again, that lack of confidence kicks in here – I start to panic that I can’t possibly explain the book in a way that makes sense and sounds interesting … and maybe the powers are an overused idea … and maybe the whole concept just isn’t right … and … oh, you get the idea. Yeah, that’s why I haven’t written it yet.

But I am writing it. Now.

I’m 10,572 words in, and I’m not going to stop until I hit 50,000 words. And then I’m still not going to stop. And after I write that final chapter, I’m going to edit it and make it into the book I know it can be. I’m going to keep writing, even when I’m worried that it’s not turning out the way I wanted it to, even when I’m terrified that it will never be good enough for anyone to actually read. Because in the end, I need to do this for me, even if it turns out that it’s only for me.

Anyone else out there participating in NaNoWriMo? How’s it going for you? Are you as freaked out as I am, or is this a breeze for you? What’s your book about? I want to know!

Oh, and if you’re participating, make me a buddy! I’d love to follow along with your progress and commiserate with you! My username is nmhewitt.

15 Responses to “Let’s Discuss – Do you NaNoWriMo”

  1. Mishma @ As the page turns

    Wow, go Nicole! I am sure you’ll succeed in your attempt and bring forth an amazing book:)
    I’ve always wanted to join NaNoWriMo, but never had the chance to, because my exams always fall on November. But I am planning to go for it next year.Hope it will work out.

    Mishma @ As the page turns recently posted: Do you write DNF reviews?
  2. Sam

    Yaaayyy! I’m so excited for you!!! Congrats on the over 10K so far! I participated for the first time last year and loved the experience. I totally get what you mean. I was absolutely terrified!! But, I did it! I wrote just over 50,000 words in ONE MONTH! I would have never thought myself capable, but I guess I was.

    Oh, a helpful tip: follow @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter if you’re not already. Then, every time you write, or just if you need the motivation, participate in their word sprints. I found it super helpful and motivating. They encourage you and you get to interact with other people participating in NaNoWriMo as well! I loved it!!

    I really wanted to participate this year, but life has been so busy. Plus, I’m still not finished perfecting my story I wrote last year! Haha. Anyway, maybe we can be NaNo buddies next year! Good luck and have fun, Nicole!! I’m rooting for ya! 🙂

    Sam recently posted: Poe Challenge #2: The Gold Bug
    • Nicole

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who’s been completely overwhelmed and terrified of this process! I’m GOING to do it! I’ll have to check out the word sprints – I didn’t know about those!

  3. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Wow, amazing job! I am doing it (adding you as a buddy!) but I am not doing great at all. I am at a paltry 412 words. I am extra mad because I stress so much about meeting goals, and I am clearly not going to meet this one! In truth, I knew there was no way I would get to 50K, but I had hoped to at least get about halfway. But I guess it isn’t in the cards this time around. I know there is still time to pick it up a bit too. I just need TIME. There isn’t enough time in the day 😉

    So glad you are doing so well, hope it continues to go great for you!

    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted: Stacking the Shelves and Other Weekly Shenanigans (34)
    • Nicole

      Yeah, I’ve fallen behind because my husband and I went out of town for a couple of days, but I’m REALLY hoping to catch up. I’m definitely not giving up!

  4. Olivia

    Ooh I love this! I am Nanowrimo-ing this year, and although I am a bit behind (schoolwork is taking over my life when I need to write!) I am going to keep going! I have been wanting to be an author ever since I was younger, and even started my blog because it is important to build a readers email list and thought a blog was a good way to do so.

    I will add you on Nanowrimo, and I hope writing goes well. I am a competitive person, and a little OCD, so I finish everything I start, even if it takes years to do so xD I hope writing goes well and I admire you for saying you will do it this time. Keep at it!

    Olivia recently posted: Day Zero (Review)
  5. Bregje

    Awesome that you’re participating this year! This year is my fourth time participating. I reached 50.000 words last year for the first time. This year I don’t think I’ll be hitting 50.000 (but I’ll still try), because of a bussy period at university, but even if I won’t reach the goal I’ll have written more than I would have if I did not participate!

    Bregje recently posted: Nanowrimo 2014
    • Nicole

      I’m a bit behind because my husband and I went out of town for a couple of days, but I’m hoping to catch up! Good luck with your writing!

  6. Ella

    As I was reading this I felt like you were writing your post about me! I’m the world’s worst about starting and stopping things, especially when it comes to writing. I probably have about 25 half-written manuscripts just laying around my house right now. I decided to NaNo this year because I felt like if I committed myself to it and made it public that I’m doing it that it would force me to finish it. I’ve had better success than I thought I would. I’ve made it to almost 35k already but I know it’s going to need to be HEAVILY edited afterwards. I feel the same way you do that even if no one else reads it, I still did this for myself. I added you as a writing buddy! I’m on there and twitter if you ever need a cheerleader! Good luck with the rest of NaNo!

    • Nicole

      35k is awesome! Woo hoo! I’m just happy to be at just over 14k. My husband and I went out of town for a couple of days, so I had to do a little catch-up, but I’m nearly back up to where I’m “supposed” to be, so that’s really encouraging. Now my next fear is that I’ll hit the 50,000 words and then let my book sit for another year – until next year’s NaNo! Thanks for buddying me – I’m going to go check out your profile now!

    • Nicole

      Thanks, Brooke! I did make my 50k word goal – my book isn’t actually finished yet, but I’m definitely proud of what I’ve accomplished so far!

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