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Friday, 17 October 2014

The Throes of Planning

November is two weeks away! Two weeks! That's it! This means that I am currently a cauldron of emotions. I am excited, I am nervous... I am on the verge of insanity. Why? Because, the 2014 session of National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) is just around the corner. For those who do not know what NaNo is, it is a challenge for writers to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. It is the time of year you may find your friends, colleagues, or family members stocking up on coffee, tea, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. It is the time of year when these people can look like death warmed over while somehow coming alive. Those people are a very special breed of Human. They are the ones who, for one month of the year, get very little sleep, are highly over-caffeinated, just about go insane, and still manage to function. They are amazing. And I am proud to be a part of this amazing, crazy, enthralling group of people.

November has become my favourite month of the year because of this lovely writing challenge. I first heard about NaNo back in the early 2000s not long after it first started, but I never gave it much thought. A friend of mine brought to my attention year after year, but I still didn't give it much thought. 50,000 words? No one could ever write that in a month! Then came November 2012. I had been working on a trilogy for 4 years, and was having a very slow go with it. Things had changed in it; I originally had three main characters – two females and one male – and things were feeling a bit lopsided. So, I decided to split the one male character into two; his personality and appearance went into one character, and his story arc became a whole new person. This meant I had to rewrite what I had of the first book because suddenly adding in a fourth character wasn't going to work for me. So, I started rewriting the first ten chapters. Then, October rolled around, and I realized I was still having a slow go with this project. Suddenly, NaNo had a purpose for me. I was going to use NaNo to finish that darn rewrite and then continue the novel. I finished that rewrite! But, I also ended up bouncing back and forth to a fanfic I had been working on. (I have a very bad habit of bouncing between projects.) I did not win that NaNo; I finished with 18,000 even, and every one of those words was handwritten. In spite of not winning, I had a great time. I met so many people who were incredibly welcoming, and warm – some of them were downright cuddly. They were amazingly encouraging, especially on those days when writing even two words is like pulling molars. They made my word count of a mere 18,000 feel like a victory.

2013 was another jam-packed NaNo for me. I did not win that year either; I finished with 28,000. But, again, I was among a group of wonderful people who encouraged me, held me accountable, and held my ending word count as a victory. It was great for me just to participate again.

Now, I'm gearing up for the 2014 NaNo season. My planning has included writing biographies for my four main characters as well as some important supporting characters. I am hoping these biographies will also help me organize what is to come, and make the writing easier. I have taken on a new role this year within my NaNo region. * I am an event mod for the Toronto NaNo group, as well as a chat room mod. I am honoured to have been asked to become a mod, and I am both nervous and excited to take it. NaNo 2014 is going to be a whole new experience for me, an experience I cannot wait to have. I am hoping this new role will give me a whole new batch of inspiration and enough of it to hopefully win this year. Winning a NaNo would be an awesome accomplishment.

I cannot wait to see the faces of all those I have met over the three years I have partook in his daunting challenge, and I'm even more excited to meet new faces. NaNo is a journey that is beautiful, yet scary. It is a journey that, I find, is best done in good company. The company makes the journey all that more worth while.

When I tell people about NaNo, I am often looked at as though I have three heads and I am crazy for attempting such a feat. Perhaps I am crazy. No... I know I'm crazy; I'm downright insane! But, it is a wild ride, and as I've said, I have met some incredibly wonderful people along the way. They make all the insanity of little sleep coupled with a dangerous amount of caffeine so very much worth it.

Are any of you partaking in NaNo this year? Are you a veteran, or are you new to the craziness? Regardless of your NaNo stature, I wish all of you the very best of luck in writing your novels. It doesn't matter if you finish with 50,000, 100,000, or 1,000. The only thing that matters is, that you have written.