Well, folks, the National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is at an end and the website reports a total collective word count of 982,564,701 words written during the month. 18,478 words are my 2006 contribution. I’ll be pulling down my daily graph later today. My Whirlpool blog will be up for a few more days, then it’s back into the cyber-closet until next year.
“WriMo” generates a lot of discussion and a lot of questions about the process and why I participate. I’ve found that I respond well to external carrots and self-generated goals. The annual November event pretty much assures that I begin something, and that I make some gains even when I don’t make it across the finish line. I don’t always have the goal of 50,000 words in mind. NaNoWriMo is an annual bootcamp for my writing muscles. It’s good to push your creativity now and then and stretch the imagination’s tendons. Besides, working on a new project and racking up a wordcount is also a nice way to end the year. (Yes, I do continue working on the project so I also end up with another finished manuscript down the road.)
Earlier this year I had made a commitment to an agent to have 100 pages for him by March 2007. Not perfect pages but pages that would show that the crime novel I’ve had in story development the last two years has moved to the next stage: the actual writing of a rough or first draft. NaNoWriMo coincided with the need to begin this work, so I signed up again with a personal goal of getting the rough draft down of a minimum of 50 pages by the end of the month. Right now I have 71 pages so I’m pretty happy. That’s 71 more pages than I had on November 1st. The creative pressure also squeezed out a few other major character and plot decisions that are pretty exciting, too. I more than accomplished my personal goal even though the larger NaNoWriMo goal evaded me. No complaints. I now have 71 pages to push, pull, massage, stretch and contract during December–still in rough draft but definitely getting reshaped.
Many people find NaNoWriMo or an exercise like it helpful, particularly when they’re beginning a new project. The rules for the contest state that the work must be new, so you’re essentially writing a white hot draft from beginning to end. But, as we all know, writing a novel can take a long time. It’s also true that many, many entrants in the annual NaNoWriMo challenge do not finish their novel in one month. So along comes NaNoFiMo.org. While this one is not affiliated with the original NaNoWriMo, “FiMo” is for those who want to continue the experience. FiMo also adds another twist. Writers who didn’t qualify for “WriMo” because they already were in the throes of writing a novel can particpate in FiMo. The founder of “FiMo” has built on the WrMo concept because she wanted to continue the NaNoWriMo experience while working on her novel. Like WriMo, you can open up an account and be part of a group with the same intention. There are banners, plot point helpers, wordcount calculators and all sorts of things to help you continue. If you want to give yourself an extra nudge to write during this busy season, you might want to consider NaNoFiMo.
If NaNoFiMo doesn’t lure you in, never fear. There are several other writing opportunities and over the next few days I’ll post about them.