Brace Yourselves: November is Coming

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

nanowrimo.org Mission Statement

As NaNoWriMo enters its 20th year (and I prepare for my 12th year of participation), it seemed the perfect time to dig a little deeper into what NaNoWriMo means not only for authors (a topic I’ve addressed fairly regularly), but also what it means for the people around them.

Without further ado:

Here Comes November

A Guide To The Care & Feeding of Your NaNoWriMo Author

What is NaNoWriMo?

According to the NaNoWriMo.org website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

Why do authors do it?

Every author who participates has a different reason for becoming a WriMo. For some, it’s an exercise in discipline. For others, an excuse to shut out the real world in favor of creating their own. For some, like me, it’s a matter of proving to yourself that you can finish the draft.

How do authors approach the challenge?

There’s no single way to approach NaNoWriMo and nothing will ever work for everyone: but there are three basic classes of WriMo you should be familiar with:

Planner:

This is the type of author your Language Arts teacher says you’re supposed to be. Planners have detailed outlines, character sketches, and new languages and creatures already fleshed out long before November 1 comes around. They plan. They are prepared.

Pantser:

Pretty much the opposite of the Planner, a Pantser tends to look at a blank page the morning of November 1 and finally get around to deciding what to write. A pantser’s mind if full of half-baked ideas, numerous plot bunnies, and a couple killer one-liners that someone is going to use this year no matter what!

Plantser:

A newly identified class who, for many years, been confused by Planners as Pantsers and Pantsers as Planners. A Plantser typically greets November with an idea, maybe a few character sketches in skeletal format, and a collection of notes that roughly resmeble an outline.

Your Role As The Keeper of a WriMo

Regardless what class your WriMo falls into, there are certain things that you can do to help make November run just a little more smoothly.

Encourage

November can be overwhelming for your WriMo. Let’s face it: November’s not exactly a quiet month anyway. Tons of holidays are closing in, usually followed by family members & social events. Weather tends to be meh – either cold and gloomy, hot and miserable, or some other combination of factors that basically make you want to crawl into a hole and be left alone for a couple months. Adding the average daily wordcount of 1,667 to the mix is crazy-making.

And yet, WriMos do it… year after year.

There are many ways to encourage your WriMo and help them through the insanity that is November.

Take on additional chores so they don’t have to worry about them.

Screen social engagement requests to help maximize writing time.

Listen when they share their ideas. You are important enough for them to not write while they talk to you – make sure they realize they are equally important and that you appreciate the fact that you are THAT high on their list.

Nourish

Many WriMos, particularly when they are in the zone, forget to address their own basic needs. As the keeper of a WriMo, you should always take care to make sure your WriMo has adequate water in addition to any other beverage of choice they may ingest while working.

Make sure to feed your WriMo regularly, too. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to actually feed your WriMo but placing a meal or snack in easy reach will ensure they are able to maintain their strength without the danger of losing their momentum to go find and/or prepare something to eat.

Get Acquainted With Their Muse

Every WriMo has a muse and repeat WriMos tend to be familiar enough with their muse to be able to introduce you. Getting to know your WriMo’s muse may well be your single most important task as the keeper of a WriMo.

Just as every WriMo is different, every muse is different. Learning about your WriMo’s muse will prepare you to help your WriMo seduce the muse back to the story when she wanders.

To Be Continued…

It’s been a crazy couple months:
My mentor & dear friend retired from the DayJob in June and I have been going slightly mad (just very slightly mad) learning all the things I didn’t know about her job now that it’s my job.

New side projects. Plot bunnies running amok. Human sacrifice. Dogs & cats living together… wait. That’s not it.

Bear with me, folks. I’m still here… at least until November 😉

Until next time…

Take a minute to breathe… to remember… to love.
Smell the roses, pet the dogs, and hug the people who have a place in your heart.