It’s no secret that this year, I’m being a NaNo-Rebel. Instead of 50k, I’m not setting a wordcount goal at all, and instead of working on a brand-new project, I’m finishing AMD&B because that really, really needs to be done.
So. How did I make the decision to be a Rebel? And how, exactly, does this make November different from every other month of the year? And how can you join all of the other cool kids who are
skipping class and chain-smoking behind the bleachers in their leather jackets doing their own thing this November?
Luckily for you, I’ve compiled a short, 4-step guide to making the most of your NaNo Rebellion.
1. Think about what you mean to accomplish.
November (at least for me) has historically meant the beginning of a new novel. Just me and the blank page, the plot bunnies running wild in my head, constrained only by how quickly my fingers can type. I’ve been participating in NaNoWrimo since 2004, when I was sophomore in high school. Back then, I wasn’t concerned with turning writing into a career or even looking at what I’d done once November was over. The process, the pure, unfiltered joy I received from setting everything else aside and being able to write without guilt for one month of the year was what kept me going.
Things have changed over the last nine years. Heck, things have changed over the last two years. I’ve gone from writing-as-a-secret-hobby to writing-as-a-potential-career. I’ve started–and taken a break from–studying fiction writing at the graduate level. I’ve written two novels and started a third. Writing, for me, has changed from something I did just for me to something that resembles, well, a job. It’s something I do every day.
This means that while 50,000 words of something brand-spanking new (I’m looking at you, Circus Book) would be omgincredible, I had to sit down and think about what would be the best move for me and the best move for the books I am writing and the books I want to write. After weighing the pros and cons, I came to the decision that the best move for me, right now, is to finish the book I started during last NaNo so I can start querying ASAP.
Decide what’s right for you and for the book you’re writing and go for it.
2. Don’t look back.
NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun. Any words you earn during the month are words you fought for. Sure, there are people on your twitter feed or in the forums who reached 50,000 words in the first day, but that’s not why you’re doing this, remember? One of the key components in any NaNo Rebellion is sticking to your guns. Don’t let the word counts distract you, if quantity isn’t what you’re aiming for. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not “really” doing NaNo. And please, don’t start feeling left out as people start hitting that 50k mark towards the end of the month–remember, you set your own goal because you did what was best for you. As long as you’re writing (or plotting, or editing, or whatever it is you’re doing this month), you’re winning. Remember that.
3. Embrace the community.
One of my favorite things about NaNoWriMo is the feeling of it. Everyone’s doing it, everyone’s in it together. For one month out of the year, other people pick up their pens and set up their laptops and create. And it’s awesome. Just because you’re being a Rebel doesn’t mean you should sit this one out — it’s just the opposite, really. Join in on those wordsprints, if that’s your thing, or hang out in the forums, or go to a write-in and take advantage of all of the fantastic, exciting things happening around you all November long. Meet new people, make new friends, and encourage others along every step of the way, because, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together.
4. Write, you beautiful rebel, you.
Butt in chair, hands on keyboard — write. Meet whatever goal you’ve set for yourself. Write sentences that sing and chapters that you’re proud of. When it comes down to it, Rebels know that November really isn’t that different from the other 11 months of the year.
Alright, adventurers — who out there is rebelling with me? Any tips for waging a successful NaNo Rebellion?