Thursday, December 6, 2012


Ok for the entire month of November I wast posting random numbers as my status on Facebook. I had a lot of people coming up to me or commenting asking what the hell the numbers meant. I would explain that I was participating in NaNoWriMo and that the numbers were the word count. Most people gave me a look like I'd drank my breakfast, so I've decided to take a minute and explain what NaNoWriMo is and why I did it.

To start with NaNoWriMo stand for National (Na) Novel (No) Writing (Wri) Month (Mo). As the NaNoWriMo website states it's 30 days and nights of literary abandon. NaNoWriMo is a month long challenge for writers to complete a novel, 50,000, words in one month. In order to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month every participant must write 1667 words per day to finish on time. I went in with the understanding that the reward was simply knowing that you completed the challenge and now had the first draft of a manuscript. However I was pleasantly surprised at the end of November when I completed the challenge to find that there were several wonderful writer-y prizes to be had.

I first learned about NaNoWriMo back in 2008 when I took a Creative Writing course at the University of Maine. On the first day of class our professor informed us that we would be writing a novel that semester as well as several other pieces, and no joke the number of students was cut in half by the next class. we used the NaNoWriMo concept but had almost two months to complete it rather than just the one. Ever since then I've wanted to see if I could do the one month challenge but would forget about it until halfway through November. This year a friend of mine asked me if I was going to do it and I thought about it. I had just finished completing the first draft of another piece and I wanted another writing project while I let the previous one sit for a while before editing. I had multiple ideas kicking around in my head (per usual) so I figured I would take one and see if I could do it for NaNoWriMo.

The biggest worry I had about NaNoWriMo was the fact that when I write I write by hand not on a computer but in order to maintain accurate word counts and to validate my novel at the end of the month I would have to write on the computer. I was worried because typically when I write creatively and I do so on a computer I stare at the blinking cursor until my eyes go cross at a loss for what to write, but when I put a pen to paper it spills out of me a lot of the time faster than I can write it. I also like the pen and paper because you can take it anywhere and write when you get a free minute. Also I was worried because I work two jobs one writing for a paper which could exhaust my writing and consume time with interviews and retail which has it's busiest season in November.

But despite my insecurities with using technology to write and the heavy workload I faced I completed the challenge. I had friends pushing me keeping me on track and asking about my word count, so to you I say thank you. I had family who questioned my involvement in such a challenge and I thank you for wanting to make me do it that much more so I could show you the finished work. And to all the people on Facebook who wondered what drugs I was on writing random numbers as my status, thank you for making reaffirm my reasons for participating in NaNoWriMo.