A PSA, OK?
What is NaNoWriMo?
For the unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is the shortened term for National Novel Writing Month, a month-long event taking place every year in November, in which participants are tasked with the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month (the length at which a fiction book is generally considered to be a novel). This doesn’t necessarily mean participants have to finish the book itself; only 50,000 words have to be written to complete the challenge.
In a month of 30 days…doing the math…means participants must write at least 1,667 words per day. Doesn’t seem like too much. But then if you miss one day due to some special event or because you’re sick, you need to make it up. 3333 words in a day. It’s certainly possible. Keeping up the pace like this can be difficult though. For an aspiring writer however, this is an important skill.
In any case, the novel can be about anything. Anything. Fanfiction is alright. A story written entirely in second person. Weird revenge porn. Whatever you’re into these days, ya freak.
I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo in the past, but I’ve never succeeded thus far. Last year my attempt got over 28,000 words, a little over half what was necessary. My biggest problem was a lack of preparation beforehand. Literally, on November 1st, I started writing without any idea of what my story was, who was starring, and where it was taking place.
What I ended up with was pretty mediocre. Because I was struggling, I attempted to combine the story I was writing (kid gains magical powers to fight a constantly resummoning ancient force) with a story I’d wanted to write a long time ago (kid sees something godlike and becomes a modern prophet / cult leader). I got about a third of the way through. Maybe someday I’ll go back and write something like it.
Some people blame their failure on their “lack of time” as if people who succeed are just rolling in the time. It’s kind of insulting. In truth, unless you’re in a coma or dead (and I’m not sure why you’re reading this, then), we’re all basically given the exact same amount of time. Maybe you prioritize work? Perhaps you like your family and friends? Sleep? The point is, we all make decisions about what to do with our time. Saying you “don’t have time” is just saying that you’re spending your time differently than you want. In the same way, if you fail writing, it’s because you chose to use your time differently.
I failed last year. But maybe this year will be different.
This year, I’m going to do things a little…nontraditionally. 50,000 words? Not exactly. Am I looking for a certificate? Nope.
NaNoWriMo is good for the aspiring writer for three reasons:
- It forces them to write something instead of mulling it around in their head forever.
- It shows them how much time it takes to write something.
- It makes them realize how they are using their time and how to repurpose it for writing.
I’m pretty aware of the latter two already (it takes me about an hour to write 400-500 words, if you’re curious). What I need NaNoWriMo for this year is to get something onto paper. And what has been needing to get on paper? This time, the script for my game.
Starting this month, the official script for my game was sitting at 9,678 words long. Of the 25 chapters the game was supposed to be, the Prologue and Chapters 1-3 were more-or-less complete. 4 was ¾ done.
My goal: Complete all the way through Chapter 11. Essentially, take the script that I’ve been writing over the past five months and write 1.5x that over a one month period.
It could be a doozie. Will be. The script is difficult because it’s partially in Japanese and because I also have to write all the battles out. While the conversation battles might seem easy, making sure that they’re appropriate challenges for the players is difficult work. I worry that I’ve included too many unfamiliar words and not given enough simple challenges.
But then like NaNoWriMo itself, the script doesn’t have to be perfect from the start. It definitely won’t be, in fact. The point is just to get something down on paper. Erm, digital paper. Whatever you can call the white thing you write on in Microsoft Word.
What Does This Mean For This Blog?
Ah, no worries. I should still be coming out with a post weekly. Just like my game, this blog is something I don’t want to neglect. But for this week, I think this post will be all I can muster.
If you too are taking the NaNoWriMo challenge, good luck! And get back to writing! We’re 4 days in and there’s no time to waste!