Sunday, October 28, 2012

NaNo WriMo T-3 Days

by Maggie Marr

I have a love hate relationship with NaNo WriMo. I've participated three times and not yet finished.

The first year I was interrupted by copy-edits on an already completed book and dropped out. The second year I completed the necessary 50 k words but didn't send in the manuscript to be verified--why? I don't remember. The third year I signed up, began, but then realized that the spitting out of 50 k quickly just wasn't going to be conducive to that manuscript so while the manuscript was eventually completed and in fact became the book Courting Trouble (Available November 2012)I didn't completed NaNo WriMo.

This year I will sit out NaNo WriMo--I think. I am in the midst of heavy research for my next book and I just haven't yet heard 'the voice' that tells me the tales that I write. But as I type this I ponder all those other works-in-progress I have and wonder...'hmm maybe I should NaNo and finish that book.'

Here are the things I've discovered in my NaNoing attempts.

1. Don't rewrite during NaNo.

NaNo is for spewing out words. Sitting down and cranking them out. Save the perfectionism for the months of edits you will do after November.

2. Don't second guess yourself.

You don't have time to second guess. Keep moving. If nothing else NaNo forces you to keep typing regardless of the fact that your hero who was named Henrietta in chapter 1 and was a scientist, is now in chapter 12 named Charles and works in a retirement home.

3. Check in with other NaNo'ers

Misery loves company. And by day 21--at the NaNo pace--there are a whole lot of miserable writers in the NaNo world.

4. Write

As all writers know the most difficult part of the job, some days, is actually gluing your butt to the chair and making your fingers do the tippity-tappity dance on the keyboard, but the only way to finish a book is to write one.

5. Don't expect this spew to be any good.

See 1 and 2. There is one way a writer makes their work good and it is called editing. Which is an entirely different post that you can read here.

So good luck and godspeed to all you brave NaNo'ers. Keep in mind that for me,
and a number of writers that I know, (and commiserate with) writing a good book is a marathon with draft after draft after draft. NaNo WriMo is a sprint--enjoy the fast-paced run and don't even think about all the work that you still need to do once NaNo WriMo is done.

Maggie Marr is an attorney and the author of Hollywood Girls Club, which Kirkus called 'a titillating debut', Secrets of The Hollywood Girls Club which Publishers Weekly called 'fast and sharp', Can't Buy Me Love which RT Book Reviews called 'a great story', and her upcoming release Courting Trouble. She is a producer with Dahooma Productions and also writes for film and tv.


  1. I plan to participate in NaNoWriMo for the second time. I had success the first time around, so I'm hoping for the same this year. I completely agree with your first point, in fact, my mantra during NaNo will be, "Don't Edit ~ Just Write!"

  2. Great advice! I've never attempted it, but I admire those who have. Good luck to all NaNo'ers! :)

  3. It sounds to me like you've been very successful in your Novembers by *not* NaNo-ing, so...keep it up!