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No No NaNoWriMo?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 4:19
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There’s definitely some benefits to doing NaNoWriMo in November. However, if you couldn’t do it this month, don’t despair. You can reap the same rewards in March. Or July. It just takes some creativity.

Think of these NaNoWriMo components–and create your own writing challenge:

  • Accountability and Support–Let your writing pals know what you’re embarking on (go public with it) and you’ll be amazed at the outpouring of love and help you get in return.
This is one page from my 2016 NaNo.
I shared it at a writing retreat a few weeks ago.
Four different writers gave me feedback.
Those purple notes on the margin are going to be gold when it comes time to revise.
  • Networking and Perks–Sure, when doing the official NaNoWriMo, you can network with other NaNo-ers all over the planet. However, if you’re doing a DIY NaNo, you can create your own network. I’m working on a historical fiction project centered in the 1920′s. A writing friend was at a teachers’ convention a couple of weeks ago, and she snagged a free YA novel about the same era–just ’cause she knew it would fuel my fire. And yes, if you do NaNo in November, you can earn all sorts of cute badges and banners. But you can set up your own perks if you do your own version of NaNoWriMo.
When I add 800 more words to my manuscript, I’ll treat myself to 1/2 a jar of Nutella.

When I finish this chapter, I’ll mix up a batch of chocolate chip cookies… and I might even bake some of ‘em.

Well, you get the idea…
  • Competition and an Artificial Sense of Urgency–A bit of friendly competition never hurt anybody. Pair up with a writing colleague, and see who can make the most progress in a month. (Remember:  whatever headway you make means you’re a winner, writing-wise.) And having a self-imposed deadline looming over your head? When word count is all that matters, you go into “down draft” mode.
What’s a “down draft,” you ask? These three draft stages come from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. With the first draft, the ultimate goal is get the story down. Lock that internal editor in a closet. Who cares if your writing is horrid? It’s all horrid in the first draft…
The next draft is the “up draft.” Now’s the time to fix your story up. Look at the down-and-dirty word choices, and revise. If you’ve got big chunks of telling, transform it into showing. Pretty it up with some rich similes. Fiddle around with the rhythm.
The final one is the “dental draft.” Just like your dentist checks every nook and cranny in your mouth to make sure your teeth, fillings and gums are all in perfect shape, you should now be checking the tiny details of your manuscript. Punctuation. Typos. Missing words. Tense changes. Take your time and be thorough.
So, if you didn’t take the NaNoWriMo plunge, it’s not too late. Pick a month, any month… and dive in.

Sioux Roslawski is a St. Louis dog rescuer with Love a Golden, a grandmother and a writing teacher of middle-schoolers and adults. This month she was a NaNoWriMo loser, getting only an anemic 22,018 words down as of today–far less than the required 50,000 to be considered a NaNo winner… yet she’s loving this WIP and will continue to plug away at it. To find out more about Sioux and her writing, please visit her blog.

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