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November is associated with many things: pumpkins, Thanksgiving, turkeys, pumpkin spice lattes, and… writing novels!
NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month takes place every year in November. It’s a challenge held every November and the goal is to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November, which averages to 1667 words per day.
For Humans of Ptownlife, I interviewed a Pleasanton local who had participated in NaNoWriMo not once, not twice, but three times! Here’s what she shared with us:
But first… be sure to check out part 1
Going into November, what are some words of wisdom you would gives some people attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge?
“I would say there are two philosophies of NaNoWriMo: the pantsers and the planner. So the planner are the people who, before November starts, basically write themselves an outline. It can be really specific, like every day, or just generally an acts structure, so generally what happens in the middle, generally what happens in the end. That way you start with something, so that when you are going in you have an idea of what to write. But other people are pantsers, like flying by the seat of their pants, where they just come in, maybe with an idea, and they just go for it and every day, whatever happens, happens. I’m like halfway in between the two. I’ll do some planning, but once it’s actually during the month, I’ll sometimes look at my plans, but sometimes I’ll just go with whatever I’m feeling.”
How do you fit writing 1667 words daily into your schedule?
“In terms of fitting it into your schedule, it’s definitely manageable. It’s difficult, but is manageable. Depending on the day, it would take me around an hour to two hours to write that much every day. I know there are some people who write really fast, like there are people in word sprints where they have a 30 minute word sprint and they come up with over 1,000 words. So it’s definitely possible to get the words out fast. For me, you can honestly find pockets of time throughout the day. Or if you use those pockets of time throughout the day to do your other homework, then you can have a consolidated time to write. I mean, it is just an hour to two hours. Sometimes will watch like two episodes of TV, and that’s about the time you’d need to write. So you can definitely do it. Plus I’m just someone who likes to write late at night, so I just stay up an extra hour. It’s okay.
It’s a really interesting thing that when you’re in that zone of writing every day for that much, you’re kind of always in that zone where you’ll always be thinking about it even when you’re not writing, which helps you when you’re actually writing. When you think about it throughout the day, then when you actually sit down to write, you’re able to write faster, I think. So that helps the process.”
Are you thinking of doing NaNoWriMo sometime in the future?
“I definitely think I want to do it in the future. I tried it one year, where I didn’t really write a novel, but I wrote a series of vignettes. So it was more a series of scenes that made up the novel. I think it’d be really fun to even do a series of short stories that met the word count. I do think that I want to do it again because actually putting myself to the task every day just makes you more productive and it really teaches you time management too. I think it’s just a really good way to write, so I do think that I would do it in the future.
Also, fun fact: there is national poetry month in April, where the challenge is to write a poem every day. So it’s not really like 50,000 words, but it is writing something every day. I want to do that someday as well.”
Any closing thoughts?
“I would definitely say to anyone, do it. Even if you fail halfway, even if you only get to 20,000 that’s still 20,000 more words than you started with. So regardless of how it goes, it’s a really good process, even if you don’t want to become a writer. Doing anything that dedicated for a month teaches you a lot, I think, and you can apply that to anything you do. So I would encourage people to do it.”
Check out the NaNoWriMo website for more information: https://nanowrimo.org/
Hopefully this inspires you to consider participating in NaNoWriMo! November is almost here so ready… set… let’s start writing!