Wednesday 26 October 2016

NaNo Re-run

Yes, it's that time of year again.  In a few short days, writers from around Australia and New Zealand - and indeed the world - will be clearing their desks and schedules to once again write 50,000 words on their current WIP.

It's Novel Writing month and it's not too late to join.

What is NaNo?

What is NaNoWriMo, you might ask? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo (for short) is a global and voluntary program in which millions of writers band together on the interwebs and encourage each to write 50,000 words or more. Here's a fuller explanation.

Why do NaNo?

Here's what a number of past participants have to say:

" It motivates me and then as I push myself to bang out the necessary word count my creative brain blocks the picky editor brain and great words and ideas are released."   
Jo Wanmer

"Nanowrimo is a great incentive to begin or complete a project but we have to remember that Nano is made for us (like the Sabbath 😊) we are not made for Nano! Use it as a tool to focus your writing but don't feel miserable if life gets in the way and you can't finish.
Sue Jeffrey

"NaNo provides a great motivation to get that first draft written. One of my polished NaNo stories ended up winning my category of ACFW's 'First Impressions' contest, which ultimately got me a US agent and my publishing contract, so you could say I'm a fan of NaNoWriMo!
Carolyn Miller

But is NaNo really any good?

Some people will warn you not to do NaNo for a variety of reasons. 

  • Writing fast (and without plans) results in unholy mess.
  • The pressure of a deadline is too stressful.
  • I can only write when the muse calls.
  • I'd rather be editing, writing poetry, a graphic novel or have a smaller word goal.
  • You can't really write a novel in a month.

Yes, can be, hmmm, fair enough, yes - true.

Here's the thing. I think writers often misunderstand the goal of NaNoWriMo and maybe in part that is because of its name. NaNo is about first drafts - and first drafts by their nature are messy - that's why manuscripts usually go through several drafts.

So yes, when December 1st comes around, it's not time to upload the result into KDP, Smashwords or Draft2Digital. This is just the start of the journey, not the finish line. Still, having 50,000 words (or even 20,000 or 10,000 or 60,000) is probably more than you would have had and once you get into the flow, you may be surprised at the words, ideas, scenes and plot twists that emerge.

Benefits of NaNoWriMo:

  • It helps discipline - by getting into the practice of writing daily, and writing even when the muse is being coquettish. Sometimes just sitting down and writing ignites creativity. (It may take a day or a few.)
  • Writing fast encourages the internal editor to take a short break while your writing brain gets the words down on paper - and that is often a good thing.
  • Having a messy draft is better than having no draft at all.
  • Plan to prepare in October (plans, character profiles, etc) and edit in December (or maybe January/February)
  • It's a wonderful feeling hitting 'validate' and knowing you've finished. Yippee, congrats, Winner!!! 
  • And there is always the option of being a NaNo rebel (yes, that's allowed too.)

So if you haven't done NaNo before - maybe this could be your year.  

If you have done it before, why not give it another go? 

Think about it, pray, take a risk.

For more reasons to do NaNo check here.

How to prepare for NaNo.

  • Decide on a project (though you can change this if you want to)
  • Sign up  - here
  • Plan - if you are a plotter work out your outlines, character profiles, setting etc
  • If you are a panster do research, find inspiration or just relax
  • Clear your schedule as much as possible
  • Tell people you are doing NaNo
  • Connect with NaNo Buddies online or the local meet-ups to be encouraged and inspired
  • Believe in yourself, you can do it
  • And remember, even if you write 10,000 words not 50,000 - you are still a winner.

To connect up with others doing NaNo - there are two Facebook groups you can join ACW-NaNoNauts  and S'mores, Snores and Word Scores

Looking forward to doing NaNo with you this year.  :)

For more information - ACW 2015 series on NaNoWriMo:
Part Three: Preparing for NaNo   5 October 2015 
Part Four: Ready, Set, Go  2 November 2015

Image of Ant's To Dos courtesy of SweetCrisis at
Image of Slippery Surface Sign by Jeanette O'Hagan c 2014

Jeanette O’Hagan first started spinning tales in the world of Nardva at the age of nine. She enjoys writing fiction, poetry, blogging and editing. 

She is writing her Akrad’s Legacy Series—a Young Adult secondary world fantasy fiction with adventure, courtly intrigue and romantic elements. Her short stories and poems are published in a number of anthologies including Glimpses of Light, Another Time Another Place and Like a Girl. She has recently published her short novella, Heart of the Mountain and a flash fiction 'Space Junk' in Genrellly Speaking anthology.

Jeanette has practised medicine, studied communication, history, theology and, more recently, a Master’s in writing. She is a member of a number of writers groups. She loves reading, painting, travel, catching up for coffee with friends and pondering the meaning of life.  Jeanette lives in Brisbane with her husband and children.

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Twitter: @JeanetteOHagan
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  1. I'm in two minds about NaNo this year. Or maybe three. Do I do it? If so, do I write or declare myself a Rebel and edit? Or write non-fiction? Or just forget it and focus on the things I *need* to get done ...

    Let's see how energised and motivated I feel after conference :)

  2. Great if you can, Iola :) We have one day to recover after the conference but maybe the conference will give the inspiration :)


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