Cherry Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018

November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo (worst nickname for a group ever), an entire month dedicated to the Butt-in-the-Chair rule.  

Lani Diane Rich’s first book was written during NaNoWriMo (not completely, of course, she’s good, but a finished-book-in-a-month is not for pros) so it can be very helpful.  I plunged into this year’s marathon early, writing a terrible scene that I immediately rejected, reminding myself that what works for some of the people some of the time is not The Only Way To Go.   Then I went to the grocery because I had a sudden craving for tomato soup, and on the way the people in that scene started babbling like loons, so today, I’ll be writing the loon version while having some excellent canned tomato bisque for lunch, with the possibility of cheese sandwiches.  It’s a plan.

Which is really all NaNoWriMo is: a plan.  Well, that and a guilt inducer (you didn’t write 1700 words today?  EVERYBODY ELSE DID).   So NaNoWriMo (really, who thought that nickname was a good idea?) can be helpful since, eventually, we all have to hit those tomato-stained keys.

So are you NaNo-ing?

31 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018

  1. I usually don’t have any trouble finding story ideas; finishing is my bug-a-boo, and one of the reasons why I do like NaNo. A crap ending is still an ending, and counts as wordcount.

    But this year? Oh, heavens. NOTHING appealed. Until finally, I was doing a meditation/nap with YouTube, and a picture by Kustodiev came into my head — it’s called “A Merchant’s Wife at Tea”. I’m going to stick her on a spaceship, and give her a robot cat that acts as an intelligent Siri. And it turns out, before she married Mr. Merchant, she headed a gang of mercenary space pirates.

    I saw a parody of the picture with a giant cat drinking tea, and the wife leaning up against him playfully . . . that goes into the mix, too.

    Three days late, but I’ve still got time to catch up! Or at least time to finish this one.

  2. I do it every year, though I haven’t won in like five. I’m just counting how much writing I’m doing across projects this year, including edits with my co-writer. I just want an extra incentive to work every day, since I work from home and routine is helpful.

  3. Yes! I am NaNo-ing this year and actually off to a great start. I’m terrible at NaNo most of the time. The moment the pressure is on, I freeze. But I invented myself a game to keep me going this year and it feels like the actual act of inventing the game was helpful. (For reference:

    Yesterday I hadn’t hit the point where I would start a timer to count down to beginning the game, but one of the questions floated into my head — “Immediately make the challenge facing the protagonist more difficult” — and suddenly the telepathic ferocious ravening beasts that she was trying to hide could teleport. Yesterday’s word count was 3700 words — basically unthinkable for me.

    My other goal is to throw in every possible crazy twist I can think of, plus the kitchen sink. I don’t care if my book makes sense, I just care that I have fun writing it and reach the end of the month having reminded myself of why I like writing, because that seems to be something I’ve forgotten in the last few years.

    If anyone wants to be buddies, especially if you’re interested in east coast daytime writing sprints over text message and/or trying out word crawls together (a new concept for me), I’m wyndes on the nano site or you can find me on my site or Facebook as Sarah Wynde. I don’t like Twitter and don’t much want to use it as a messaging tool, but I’d use FB Messenger or iMessage or whatever worked for you. Even Twitter if it was home for you.

  4. Nanoing for the first time in years. Not off to a great start. 0 word count when it should be 5100. But I still have hope. Butt in chair does not work for me either.

  5. I’m going to just write a whole lot of different academic research proposal ideas for fun. The weirder and out-there, the better. I put so much pressure on myself to succeed that I forgot I needed to fail and then try again, and fail better. I like writing think-ish pieces but I forgot the enjoyment of it.

    1. I’d love to see the ideas you come up with – especially the ones you discard. I have challenges of thinking up ideas for academic research/publishing.

  6. No, but this is also National Sandwich Day according to CBS This Morning. And your cheese sandwich falls right into that category. Rainy, windy day just perfect for soup and sandwich. I’d like it grilled maybe plain or with tomato and for extra artery clogging, crisp bacon toasted with the cheese.

    1. I’m thinking grilled, no bacon, and tomato bisque with whole wheat crackers; multi-grain has completely spoiled me for crackers the way whole wheat bread wiped out white bread unless it’s sour dough or croissants.

      Now I want a cheese croissant.

      1. My favorite quick snack is 2 Wasa rye crackers with cheddar cheese that are warmed in the microwave for about 20 seconds with slices of apple. Well, excluding chocolate, of course.

  7. I did NaNo once. It doesn’t really work for me. I write in bursts and need lots of time to walk around and ruminate. But good luck to all who have signed up, get those words down!

  8. I feel bad that I’m not doing it. But as I said a few days ago, after fifteen years I am just not enjoying it any more, I don’t turn out any work I’d ever want to show to anyone else, and I am going to have a hugely hard month pretty soon and my stress is going go go up by a thousand percent, so….sigh.

    1. How about using what would have been your NaNo time to do something that makes you happy each day? You could build up a happiness/relaxation bank to draw on in the stressful time to come.

      1. I think I need to use that time to job hunt, unfortunately. I am trying to figure out how to make myself do hours of work for jobs I don’t care about getting and am at best 50/50 about “wanting” since I don’t qualify for much.

  9. Nope. I really dislike writing. Now, if I could count the words I send via email, I might be in the running for something.

    I’ll be baking and quilting instead.

  10. Maybe I should do it for my nonfiction work writing (which, I might add, the butt in the chair rule does work for.)

  11. I love NaNo, and it does work for me, but I’m in the editing phase on a couple of things right now… although maybe I could pick up the Christmas romance I abandoned when I realized it is zero fun to write when we’re not leading up to Christmas. But now we are… and it’s NaNo…

  12. I’ve been steamrolled for the past month between work and four different conferences, including presenting at Ottawa Stroke yesterday. Honestly, part of me just wants to lie down. I haven’t logged into Facebook for weeks.

    NaNoWriMo is a good way for me to jump back in the saddle. Yes, I might burn out, but I think I’ll be okay. I’ve only done it once before, in 2014, when I was so hyper that I hit 50K in 2 weeks, when I’d wake up in the middle of the night and type.

    This time, I plan to go more slowly and regally. I want to stockpile two days for my night shift, so I can concentrate on sleeping. Hence I’m at 7937.

    However, I’m going to eat and read Liane Moriarty now. And friend Sarah Wynde! I’m dr_sassy on NaNoWriMo and Twitter (and Melissa Yuan-Innes on Facebook). Hope to see you around. I love making friends.

  13. I only did it once, and did manage to complete my 50K. (It was the November after I saw Jenny give her workshop at RWA, and she inspired the crap out of me and also showed me what I was doing wrong.) That book is the one that got me my agent–once finished and polished–so you could definitely say I won NANOWRIMO that year. (Although the book itself was the 4th one I sold. It ended up being Veiled Magic, in case you’re curious.)

    But I haven’t done it since. Part of the reason is that I run an artists’ cooperative shop, and starting the day after Thanksgiving, things get pretty busy, plus I’m sneaking some jewelry making in with my writing. November just isn’t a good month for me to do 50K. It also doesn’t really fit my style of writing, which involves starting each day’s stint with editing the pages from the day before. I actually broke the “no editing” rules the year I did it, so technically it was 50K plus, I suppose. Mostly I just don’t write that fast anymore. And I’m going into this November feeling like I’ve been hit by a bus, so there’s that.

    I’ll be cheering everyone else on, though. Good luck, NANO-ers. (Seriously, who thought that was a good name?)

  14. I don’t NaNo (nano, hahahaha), but I always enjoy watching my writing friends post about it. And the nickname is terrible, but memorable!

  15. I love NaNo–it’s what got me started writing fiction in the first place. I’m using it this year to power through what I hope will be my last draft before I start querying agents. I have one agent who’s requested the first 3 chapters/synopsis (at a conference last weekend–my first time pitching, whew!), but I’m not counting on that going anywhere, and certainly not fast. Anyway, I respond well to external deadlines, so the only time I’ve not completed a NaNo since 2015 (including camps in April and July) was when I was 1000 away from meeting my goal and my mom was suddenly hospitalized on the last day of the month.

    Good luck to any and all participants!

  16. Well, not officially. But if I don’t write I don’t eat, so basically I nano every month. Because I’m ghostwriting I suppose my clients could claim the words and win.

  17. November is a TERRIBLE month for teachers to do anything else, so I have dabbled in NaNo but failed literally every time, including the time I decided to count “do one writing-related thing a day” as my participation and have things like “tweet about it” count. Sigh.

    But, as I said in the last post, Butt-in-Chair doesn’t work for me. And with two small kids and an emotionally and creatively demanding job, not much of anything else works for me either! 😜

    My main goal is to get ten pages done in time to send them to my patient and supportive writer’s group, who were very nice about how many months in a row I failed to send pages (12).

    One of the women in the group does post amusing encouragement on Twitter/Insta (not sure about Facebook) under the hashtag #NaNoRhino . She’s definitely worth looking up (not just for the rhino memes! Her fiction is great too!)

  18. I’ve been thinking about Jenny’s “butt-in-chair” thoughts all weekend, and NaNo is a perfect time to do that cogitating.

    For me, when I am writing a new manuscript, I have to set a word count. Like a lot of authors these days, I work a full time job, have grown children and a husband that likes me to spend some time with them (that’s a good thing, of course), and various other responsibilities. It took me 10 years PLUS to finish my first novel, which was a teensy 55,000 words. I just couldn’t stand the thought of taking another decade to write my second book (I’m up to 4 published since 2012 and 3 to release next year, if anyone wants to know :))

    If I didn’t have a word count, I know I would never get anything done. It’s a small word count (500) which I can usually do in an hour or so (because I’ve spent all day thinking about what I’m going to write, and I also outline) and I give myself the freedom to throw it all away the next day if it truly is crap.

    But I know I would never had completed another book if I hadn’t set that goal for myself. It’s a good thing there are many roads to Oz, I guess!

  19. I’m doing it this year – mostly because I ‘won’ last year, and I had to prove to myself it wasn’t a fluke – or admit to myself that I was too afraid to find out. (Actually, this is the same logic I used when deciding to have my second child. Maybe I don’t want to examine that too deeply.)
    It feels a lot harder this year, and I love/hate the feeling of the crushing weight of (my own) expectations bearing down on me. I know that if I get behind it will become too much and I’ll run screaming into the night never to finish the manuscript at all, but at the same time it seems to be working because I hit 25,000 last night. (On the other hand, I should be working toward 26.7k right now instead of reading Argh, so what does that tell you?)


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