I’ve written about it before with all the technical stuff here (the only difference between Camp and regular is that November is the “official” one.)
So instead of going over all that again, this post is to bore you with my NaNo history. Just to cover the basics though: National Novel Writing Month is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of November.
I first discovered NaNoWriMo in 2005. I swear it was because I saw a banner ad, but since I’m yet to see one again, maybe I imagined it. I started on the 10th, and I won with probably my favourite and craziest novel to date.
From 2006 to 2009 I kept up my winning streak until…
I realized that I had five novels that weren’t even finished, let alone edited, and that I was wasting my time. I’d won and proven that I could do it, and my lack of a social calendar meant that it was actually getting easy – you know, as easy as writing 50,000 words can be. NaNo isn’t supposed to be easy, it’s supposed to be the kind of fun that’s hard.
To clarify: I’m talking about myself in the previous paragraph. I think NaNo itself is great motivation to at least start writing something, and if you’re someone who’s still doing it and finding it fun, then I’m happy for you.
In 2010 I decided I was going to both finish and edit. I finished by forcing myself to continue to 100k and end it there, and I’ve been editing it ever since. This is probably my second favourite; the plan is to win this year so I can get a code for a free copy of it in book form.
In 2011 I started but didn’t win. I got to 25k and the end of the story, attempted to continue with a second story… and stopped at 28k because I just wasn’t feeling it any more.
Somewhere around 2010 I’d realized that I now care more about quality, and now that I’d won and finished and edited, the next step was start taking it more seriously.
So for Camp 2012 I rebelled for the first time, and won with six stories that I’d switched between when I felt like it – one was of course still the longest, but it wasn’t 50k.
People will tell you that rebelling isn’t winning, but the post I just linked to will tell you otherwise – believe the post. Deny it if it really feels wrong.
So the plan for November 2012 is to rebel again. As a pantser, my NaNo prep is exactly fifteen words long, which are key words for four different ideas. I don’t know how many I’ll end up with, but I do hope I’ll end up with 50,000 words about them.
A Final Word
If you head over to Suzanne’s blog, she’ll offer you stories of NaNo past, tips and reassurance that rebelling is perfectly fine and just a cool label. (Haven’t you always wanted to rebel at something?)
And remember, it’s supposed to be fun. If you win, you get a certificate and some prizes, if you lose
you’re branded a loser and mocked for life no one even needs to know; you won’t lose anything because it’s totally free, and there’s no penalty for starting and not finishing.