When people think of November, there are a wide variety of holidays and observances that may come to mind. If you’re in the writing and/or reading community, though, chances are – National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was pretty close to the top of the list. NaNoWriMo uses a website platform with tools to track and motivate authors on their way to a goal of writing a 50K novel in the month of November. Communities can be built online and in person, and writers earn badges for making word counts and completing their goals. Today, #CMCon23 Featured Author Sarah Nicolas shares a few things they’ve learned about NaNo through the years.
5(+1) Things NaNoWriMo Taught Me
Tis’ the season. There’s a crispness to the air (not here in Florida, but we can pretend), the leaves are changing (again, not in Florida), and baked goods are everywhere (Florida’s got that, we’re not monsters!). That’s right, it’s NaNoWriMo time!
I’m not doing NaNo this year, but have done it many times before. The first book I ever wrote was due to NaNo. The first book I ever sold was written during NaNo. Keeping Her Secret wasn’t written during NaNo, but it was written in three and a half weeks in January, so it’s an honorary NaNovel.
I thought I’d share with everyone five (plus an extra) things that NaNoWriMo has taught me over the years.
1. I can write a book
It seems so silly now, but I was convinced I wasn’t capable of writing a full-length novel. NaNoWriMo and the people who embraced me in the Syracuse chapter gave me the will to try and the freedom to fail. But I didn’t fail. I hit 50,000 words by November 22, 2008 and was hooked.
2. Sometimes I’m going to hate my book
And that’s okay. Come back to it tomorrow and try again. Once the first draft is written, you can fix the broken and boring parts.
3. The human body isn’t meant to sit that long
Set a timer and stand up, stretch, go for a short walk. The manuscript will still be there when you get back and your brain will be fresher for it. And your 40-year-old self will thank you for it.
4. You are naming a character, not a child
Call the bad guy xxx for all I care. You can change it later. Spending hours looking up name meanings and “Irish names that start with a C” is just another form of procrastination. Now let’s talk about what you’re really avoiding?
5. Writing friends are invaluable
We all like to imagine the romantic ideal of an author toiling away in poorly-lit solitude to create genius. But that’s so lonely. When I didn’t think I could keep going, when I wanted to do anything but, it was my writing friends who kept me going.
6. Chocolate is vital to the writing process
This one doesn’t need explanation. It’s a reward, a motivator, and a consolation all wrapped up into one foil-lined wrapper.
Sarah writes YA fiction as Sarah Nicolas and adult romance as Aria Kane. They are a recovering mechanical engineer, a literary agent (under the name Sarah Fisk), the host of the Queries, Qualms, and Quirks podcast, and a founder of Disability in Publishing. When not writing, Sarah can be found playing volleyball or drinking wine.
If you’d like to join Sarah and a whole slew of fellow readers and awesome authors for a weekend of bookish shenanigans by the beach… you should DEFINITELY check out the Coastal Magic Convention. February 23-26, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida, Sarah and I will be there with everyone for discussion panels, meet & greets, chill time, and a big book signing. **Masks will be required for the duration of the event.** We’d love to see you there!! http://CoastalMagicConvention.com