I don’t know how you novel writers do it. First, I am always astounded by fiction writers–people who can weave a tale, build a plot and sustain it, create believable and likable characters, keep the suspense going, and then end with a conclusion that satisfies.
Seriously. I admire you more than you know.
So as the month of November approaches, and with it NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), I can hear weeping and gnashing of teeth from my Professional Writing students who are trying to decide if they can take on the beast that is NaNoWriMo.
If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is when novel writers everywhere commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. To translate, there are about 250 words on a standard double-spaced typed page. So 50K words = 200 pages, divided by 30 days = roughly 6 or 7 pages a day. That’s a day. Anyone who is a writer will tell you how difficult it is to sustain that kind of momentum for very long. Not impossible, but tough. Especially when you have, you know, like, a life. Like classes to take and homework to do and food to eat and sleep to enjoy.
My student Chrysa discusses her past experience with NaNo in her blog post this week. And Jessie is trying to decide if the commitment is worth it:
To join or not to join #NaNoWriMo2016
— J. M. Sanford (@jmsanford7) October 28, 2016
If nothing else, the commitment of NaNo helps writers see what is possible. Whether they get to that magic 50K number or not, they have discovered that setting a goal and working steadily toward it have their own rewards. Basically you just do it and see if, well, if you can do it. There are no prizes, no awards dinners. Doing the task is reward unto itself.
Only writers understand that.
Which brings me to EdBoWriMo.
I don’t write novels. Never have. Never will. I am content to be astounded by my fellow writers who do. However, as I shared last week, I’m under contract to write a book about editing. So I decided to join my novel writing friends in making a commitment to myself to make this “Editing Book Writing Month.”
And since I know my abilities, I’m not shooting for 50K words; instead, I think I’m going for a more modest 22,500 words, which works out to 750 words (or about three pages) per day.
So what about you, my fellow writers? Do you have something you need to work on, but NaNoWriMo doesn’t quite fit? Then create your own! Let’s join with our fellow novel-writing friends and commit ourselves to a certain number of words per day (or per week if that’s better). Create your own acronym. Create your calendar.
And on November 1, let’s commit to seeing how far we can finally get on that project.
So tell me, what could you work on this November? What languishing project could you breathe new life into? What project could benefit from your sustained attention during the month of November? Tell me about it in the comments below.
11 thoughts on “My Own EdBoWriMo”
Hi, Linda –
Already on it, but not doing the NaNoWriMo this time. It got to be too much, so I caved!
How does anyone write a novel? Well, you take a bright idea, you ask it (the story) where it wants to go, and then you just follow that path, and believe me, it has more ambushes and traps to spring and snares along the path to the end of it than you can shake a stick at. I find it best to be flexible, because stories are like children: you bring them into the world; you know what you want them to be when they grow up; and they laugh at you and choose their own path to follow.
I viewed the NaNoWriMo exercise as a chance to write a novella, which is about 50,000 words and came up with what will be the base for a full-length novel out of that. And 26 years ago, when I was off work on sick leave, I wrote two pellmell chapters of the start of a story, which is now moving ahead. It sometimes does take that long. Now you know why it took J.R.R. Tolkien 30 years to write the Lord of the Rings.
Just stick with it, do a good job, and don’t look behind you. As Satchmo said, something might be following you. In this case, it’s the end of your story.
Have fun! Above all else, have F-U-N!!!
Ha! I love that analogy with the children. Too true! And thanks for the encouragement. Writing is one of those jobs that requires perseverance. Good luck on your books!
I’m always so impressed with the writers who tackle NaNoWriMo. I agree with you; it’s hard to sustain. I don’t think I would be able to hit half of the word limit with all that’s going on. Thanks for the great post!
Ha. I wouldn’t do it except for looming deadlines . . . I just feel like it will be motivational for me.
I don’t know how writers who take on NaNoWriMo do it! I am editing some novels right now, and it’s been taking me forever! I think I’m going to commit to getting this editing done during November. Good luck with writing your editing book , and I hope you enjoy it:)
Thanks, Laura. To be fair, editing DOES take a long time. We’ll commiserate as the month progresses!
Three pages a day is a good start! I’ll probably end up doing that much if I’m lucky. Good luck!
Yeah, well I don’t know how you guys who are college students do it. There’s so much else on your plates. What I like about it is the concept of goal setting and the astonishing knowledge at the end that writers can write a LOT in a short time if we really want to. Of course, it’s first draft work, but we don’t get anywhere without a first draft. Be encouraged! I mean, you’re already a writer through and through!
Can you describe your edbowrimo a bit more? Are you editing someone else’s text? or . . . ?
No, it’s my own book that I’m writing ABOUT editing. So I’m actually writing, not editing, yet. Although I will have to edit at some point. Right now I’m trying to finish the first draft.
I write short ed/op columns for a couple weekly newspapers in Missouri, and one editor just told me she needs three articles by Friday. But to tell the truth, in college I always got my best grades on term papers that I stayed up all night composing, just before they were due. Applying that to writing, it’s like climbing a mountain and feeling like you can’t go another step–and then looking behind you and seeing a bear heading your direction. That’s what deadlines do for me. 🙂