The starting gun has sounded and all around the world, thousands upon thousands of people are typing like mad, banging out words as fast as possible in the wild race to finish a novel in 30 days. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t even have to be good. It just has to be at least 50,000 words and finished. Let the games begin!
Over the next 30 days, there will be highs and lows. The first week is always the best, that rush of certainty, that overflowing well of creativity being pumped by pure adrenaline. The second week is almost as good, a more manageable pace that’s maybe not so manic and/or likely to have you dropping over from exhaustion… until you hit the third week. Oh God, the third week. When you’re halfway through and you suddenly realize you need a climax, a plot twist, a better than vague idea of where the hell you’re going with this train wreck of a manuscript, and why, WHY did you ever think this was a good idea?
Sound familiar, NaNo alums?
But here’s the secret: It’s okay. Because the fourth week? The fourth week is when it’s all downhill. You’re in the home stretch now, baby. You’ve been writing and self-flagellating for weeks, and this is it. The light at the end of the tunnel. And when you get there, you can bet your sett bippy you’re going to have a completed novel clutched in your hand.
You. Can. Do. This.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a published author, or a reader who has always had a story you’ve wanted to tell. NaNoWriMo isn’t about skill; it’s about dedication, love, and fun.
And ignoring housework.
This year, I’m so excited to tell you all that FOUR of us Birdies are diving into the NaNo insanity with you. Camryn Rhys, Scarlett Parrish, Viki Lyn, and I will all be working on novels and sharing our trials and tribulations here with you on the blog. We’ll be doing Weekly Check-In Posts every Monday so you can tell us how your projects are going, and we can fess up on our current word counts. There will be ceremonial handings-out of virtual NaNoWriMo Merit Badges (available for purchase as the real thing here at the official NaNoWriMo Store), as well. Who will be the first to collect all ten?
And what would a big month-long project at the Dirty Birdies blog be without a contest?
As everyone knows, just finishing in NaNoWriMo is considered winning, and boy, is that certificate a heck of a great pat on the back. But as an added bonus for readers of the blog, anyone who wins NaNoWriMo is eligible to enter a free drawing to have me critique the first five chapters or 30 pages (whichever comes first) of his or her NaNo in January. This will be a professional editorial critique of your work (fine print: this in no way is to be construed as an offer of publication from any publishing house I work for).
Why in January, you ask? Because December is NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month). And because I have a drop-dead deadline at the end of December for a massive and completely unrelated project that I will tell you all about. Later.
For now, let’s get cracking!
To get things started off, I come bearing gifts! Save-as and go nuts, kids.
NANOWRIMO WORD TRACKER. Graphs and charts, keeps track of your daily and hourly average, AND tells you what kind of productivity you’re looking at to finish on time. It’s a great tracking tool, and if you’re an Excel geek like a few of us Birdies, this should be right up your alley.
And, because I love me some silly, two NaNo desktop wallpapers from SURLY MUSE. Just to have a little giggle to start us off.
If you like them, be sure to stop by his blog and tell him!
And remember, there are some great resources on my NaNo pre-game post from last week!
Love, kisses, and a really big box of printer paper,
Not writing this year, but interested in cheering us on? Go for it! Cheerleaders are always welcome, because they keep us lunatics going. Even during the third week.
Likewise, if you can, please consider making a donation to The Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit organization that runs NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy. They promote literacy, build libraries around the world, and sponsor creative writing programs through their Young Writers Program. By fostering self expression at all ages, they help hundreds of thousands of people each year tap into their creative potential.