Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Cindy Pon cyber twisted my arm - no, not really - but she inspired me to sign up for NaNoWriMo.

Never heard of it?

I had heard bits and pieces of it here and there.... NaNo this... and NaNo that... but I wasn't sure what everyone was talking about...

The short of it is, NaNoWriMo is a contest of sorts held annually in November.

Why? Because November is Novel Writing Month. (Yay!!!)

It's challenge: to write 50,000 words from Nov 1 - Nov 30.
It's focus: quantity, not quality.

That's right, I said quantity. At first you might squint and say, What? Don't focus on quality, how absurd. But not really.

There is a time and a place to concern yourself with the beauty of your MS, the flow of your phraseology, the air-tightness of your plot, the motivation of your characters, the... well, you get the picture. It's just the first draft it not that time, nor place. All that should matter in a first draft - OK, the biggest factor of the first draft - is finishing the darn thing! Once you start editing and revising a first draft, you lose focus. You lose momentum. You lose your mind! And that threat of your baby becoming an Unfinished Novel under your bed becomes very real.

How do I know this? Because this is precisely what I have been doing for the past year! I have been working, revising, editing, re-writing my first draft. And where has that gotten me? Well, no where, really. It's made me stagnant. I keep re-reading my first draft saying, Oh wait, I forgot this. Or, Oh wait, that's all wrong. Or, Oh wait, that's way too weak a motivation, etc. And so... I keep going back to stage one instead of being able to push forward and move onto a second, third, fourth draft!


So, I challenge all of you first drafters out there: Join NaNoWriMo with me and Cindy and Leeza, and countless others. And let's once and for all, WRITE/FINISH THAT NOVEL!!!

Did I convince you? Tell me your buddy name and I'll tell you mine and we can cheer each other on.

Go Novelists!!!

PS You're allowed to use outlines and notes, but they are not part of your daily word count.


Barrie said...

I will be cheering you on from the sidelines, Sheri!!

PJ Hoover said...

My husband and I talk about the need to get over perfectionism. And NaNo sounds like a really great way to encourage people to do that.
Cheering you on!

Sheri said...

And it will be great knowing you are both there, Barrie and PJ.

cindy said...


Sheri said...

Yes, and Hurrah to you for inspiring me so!

Anonymous said...

I signed up. My name there is hooch66.

David said...

I'm not ready to tackle the great, big novel just yet (focusing on the short form for now). But I'll be cheering both of you on!

And Sheri, nice blog! I've added you to the my list, if you don't mind. :)

Sheri said...

Hooch66 aye? There must be a story behind that... Struggling, I will include you as a buddy. I am Willow Rowan. Include me as one of your buddies.

David, welcome! I think the short story form will make you far better prepared for the novel, then I was. I went from writing PBs to a novel! Yikes! Oh and thanks for the compliment and for adding me to your blog. I'll add you to mine too.

Rebecca said...

So funny that you mention this now, because I was seriously considering signing up for it! I would like to push myself to write that many words in such a short period of time. Partly because my MG novels are much shorter than that and also it would be great to write on without feeling like I have to edit as I go. I hesitate only because I'm in the middle of my novel in verse. Hmmm...decisions!

Rebecca said...

Oh, forgot to mention:

And I DO just happen to have another novel idea bouncing around in my head.

Tabitha said...

Over here, cheering you on from my little corner. :)

Amy Tate said...

You know, I read about this in an email I received from the Institute of Children's Literature. I went to the website, but I couldn't make heads or tails of it. Maybe I clicked on the wrong link or something. I thought it was a neat idea. I HAVE to finish mine by the end of December so I thought it would be nice to have some company to agonize with!

JR's Thumbprints said...

50K, no way, but you do make a logical argument regarding getting that first draft done. Good luck!

Sheri said...

Becky, I am in the middle of my MG novel too. But when I re read it, I saw that I need to add a bunch of chapters, so I will rewrite the ones that are staying, write the news ones, etc. Basically, using my first draft as an outline to this one I will write for NaNoWriMo. So, I say, GO FOR IT! OR, use it to punch out a first draft of the other novel that is floating around in your head…

Thanks Tabitha!

Amy, definitely check it out again. The home page is a little confusing and I also wondered if I was in the right place. But you just click on the giant pencil at the top of the page, or the words, NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH and it will take you where you need to go.

Hey JR, good to see you again and thanks. I’m not so sure about reaching 50K in a month either. But I am not concerning myself with that. I just want to pump out as much as I can and I respond really well to deadlines. I am a floater without them.

keri mikulski :) said...

Enjoy! I signed up too. :)

C.J. Rockwell said...

I read your post about NaNoWriMo and I boy do I know how you feel. I write children's fiction too and I know the persistence it takes to get through the first draft.

My problem though is not finishing the first draft, but revising something for months or years and not getting very far. (I'm not the best editor on Earth)

I heard about NaNoWriMo years ago, but this is the first year I decided to take part. My name there is C.J. Rockwell too.

My only goal is to throw my internal editor off a million story skyscraper and welcome fun, with open arms, back into my writing life. There's a time to be an editor and a time to be a writer.

I've edited to the best of my abilities all year. Now I want to write and have fun. Period.

Sheri said...

Cool Keri and CJ! Let's be buddies!

And CJ, misery loves company. Honestly, nothing makes me feel better than when I hear from a fellow writer they also struggle with first drafts.

Well, this is my FIRST, first draft, come to think of it. PB writing is a faster paced thing than novel writing and I have completed a few very bad screenplays. Can you saw, melodramatic! Ugh! But I have one screenplay that I think is a great idea and never finished. I am about on the same page in my novel and about the same point in the story. I don't want a pattern emerging, so I am so excited to do NaNo! I am really hoping that I will, like you, turn off that critical voice and just write!

I am Willow Rowan at NaNo. Sign me up as your buddy and I'll look for you guys too.

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous