It's Game Time: NaNoWriMo 2018

Click image to read about my new NaNoWriMo project!

Click image to read about my new NaNoWriMo project!

All aboard the maybe-this-is-a-bad-idea train!! All joking aside, I’m PUMPED to be doing NaNo again! Even though October has been a crazy busy month for me with almost zero time to focus on this new book.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNo for short) takes place every November, and people from all over the globe participate. The goal is to write 50,000 words (the minimum word count to be considered a novel) in 30 days. It sounds crazy, but I actually did it in 2014, 2015, and 2016!

NaNo was the first thing that really challenged me to finish all these book ideas I had floating around in my head. And my very first NaNo project is now a REAL book! So I feel like I owe a lot to this organization and the events they put on. I skipped NaNo in 2017 because I was editing the book I wrote during Camp NaNo that summer, but I’m glad to be back. In a strange way, this feels like a writerly homecoming for me.

For those who don’t know about Camp yet, it’s a similar concept with a lot more flexibility. Instead of a hard 50K goal, you set your own goal. You’re also put into a virtual cabin with bunkmates who are there to cheer you on, give advice, and help you push through the goal you’ve set for yourself. Summer is a notoriously dull writing month for me—don’t know why, I just don’t write well in the summer—so a little push was just what I needed to finish FIGHT THE WIRE, which is now being queried to agents!

There are 2 kinds of people who do NaNo: pantsers and plotters. And for the first time ever, I’M NOT PANTSING! Pantsing is when you fly by the seat of your pants. You have a pretty good idea of your cast of characters, your plot, the major conflict, and probably how it ends. But nothing is written down—no character profiles, no location research, and definitely no outlines.

After taking the first several courses of the James Patterson MasterClass, I realized outlines aren’t scary at all. And they aren’t set in stone. I was always afraid that if I created a detailed outline for my book, I wouldn’t give myself permission to let ideas flow. So often, I’m writing a scene, and the characters take it in a completely different direction. Sometimes I have to rein them in ;) Sometimes I just let it go. And if I had a season to write this book, I might still lean on that approach. But there’s nothing more terrifying than looking at a blank page, so the outline will help me stay calm and confident from the first word to the 50,000th word.

I just need to find time to write the outline… Fellow NaNo-ers, add me as a writing buddy!