NaNoWriMo 2009? October 10, 2009 10:47 PM   Subscribe

It was a dark and stormy NaNoWriMo 2009, and the MeFites were lurking.

Who's in for NaNoWriMo 2009? I am still waffling about it -- I can't figure out if a family trip for several days mid-month is a golden opportunity or a likely productivity-crusher.

Previously:2007, 2009
posted by rmd1023 to MetaFilter-Related at 10:47 PM (84 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Okay I just signed up, woo hoo.
posted by pwally at 10:57 PM on October 10, 2009

I signed up a few weeks ago, but I'm not sure if I'll have time to go through with it. Well, I'll almost certainly have time, but the motivation is waning.
posted by Eumachia L F at 12:44 AM on October 11, 2009

Signed up! Hopefully, it won't turn into my annual month of self-loathing over lack of initiative (AnMoSeLo) this time.
posted by potch at 1:31 AM on October 11, 2009 [6 favorites]

I just signed up! Oooh! I'm excited, and hope that I keep the motivation up.
posted by jonathanstrange at 4:35 AM on October 11, 2009

This will be my 9th year doing Nanowrimo.
posted by maurice at 5:08 AM on October 11, 2009

Horrible timing for me. Moving and searching for a job.
posted by desjardins at 6:23 AM on October 11, 2009

posted by bwerdmuller at 6:47 AM on October 11, 2009

I'm participating again, for the second time. I hope to beat last year's record, which was 11,000 words.

The good news is that I finished the novel I've been working on for four or five years about a week ago, so this year I won't be beating myself up for ignoring it.

Last year was enormous fun, though.
posted by WPW at 7:25 AM on October 11, 2009

I made us a thread in the writing groups and clubs forum, for future reference.

I think I've missed a couple of years since 2002, and not finished some years, but I'm usually in at least in the beginning and will probably actually finish this year (famous last words).
posted by Lyn Never at 7:27 AM on October 11, 2009

In 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina, I sat down and poured my guts out. It was the first and only time I participated in NaNoWriMo. I completed (or rather, I stopped) when I hit around 52,000 words. I've never looked at it since then. But, the process was cathartic. I may revisit it one day when my Katrina wounds are better healed.
posted by ColdChef at 7:32 AM on October 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

This may be my second AnMoSeLo.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:24 AM on October 11, 2009

How does everyone feel about sharing our work? I'm ambiguous about it personally, but I'm giving serious thought to posting some or all of what I write on my blog.
posted by WPW at 8:33 AM on October 11, 2009

Do comic books count? I like writing comic books.

(Novels, not so much).

posted by The Whelk at 8:52 AM on October 11, 2009

I'm lucky if I can come up with 500 creative words in a month these days. NaNoWriMo just makes me feel like shit.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:52 AM on October 11, 2009

This is me. First timer, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:55 AM on October 11, 2009

Oh Crud, it's that time of year.
posted by hellojed at 8:57 AM on October 11, 2009

Oh god. Last year went horribly. Embarrassingly badly.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2009

I'm on the fence -- I did pretty well last year (I finished), but I don't have an idea for this year. I know that that's kind of the point, but I'm not so sure I'd be able to pull it off...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:00 AM on October 11, 2009

This is going to be my first ever year doing it! Here I am. I'll fill in all the details soon.

The local Seattle regional group is apparently one of the largest and most successful groups. They have a mascot and everything! Color me intimidated.
posted by Mizu at 9:06 AM on October 11, 2009

Here I am!

It's a shame they didn't keep the novel info from last year, if I remember right David Bowie got in there as a supporting character.
posted by hellojed at 9:32 AM on October 11, 2009

Do comic books count? I like writing comic books.

I hear a picture is worth a thousand words.

I actually managed to finish a NaNoWriMo novel a couple years ago, but I think grad school is going to suck up all my time this year. Is there an option to make it National Grant Writing Month?
posted by pemberkins at 9:59 AM on October 11, 2009

Hmm, I have attempted and come up short each previous time I tried (2), due to just general busy stuff. I'm likely going to be moving soon, but I suppose I'll give it a shot again. .
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:11 AM on October 11, 2009

Okay, I signed up. I'm using this as an opportunity to write my historical novel wherein I do absolutely no research whatsoever. Mods and rockers in 1960s London played street hockey and fought with giant swords, right?
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:33 AM on October 11, 2009

Man, I am so jealous of you folks who can write quickly and well. Just trying to make grammatical and comprehensible MeFi posts takes all of the writing ability that I can muster. I think that I average a sentence a minute and about 1/3 of the time, I manage to post something that makes no sense what so ever. Even when they make sense, they always read like they were translated into Esperanto and back.

I had something like 12 misspellings to fix in the above paragraph.
posted by octothorpe at 10:37 AM on October 11, 2009

For those of us who can't write an entire novel ourselves, I propose a MeFi Exquisite Corpse Novel Writing Month.
posted by empath at 11:02 AM on October 11, 2009

I've signed up every year and have yet to write a single word.

I'm a NaNoWriMoPro

posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 11:16 AM on October 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Me, hi. Good luck to everyone who's giving it a shot this year, especially anyone trying it for the first time.
posted by Neofelis at 11:37 AM on October 11, 2009

I did it in 2007 and won. I think I'll sign up this year and see what happens.

Here's my profile on there.
posted by reenum at 12:09 PM on October 11, 2009

Cool. I'll attempt and fail again this year.
posted by brundlefly at 12:44 PM on October 11, 2009

This will be my fourth NaNoWriMo.

It's hard to say it's fun. November is that month when I drink way too much coffee and don't get enough sleep.

I think it's deeply rewarding and satisfying. Even though the writing isn't really so valuable, the process is really interesting. Every year I learn more about how stories are made. There are moments every November when things in the novel start to connect in ways that I hadn't expected them to, and some tossed-off line or minor character suddenly becomes integral to the story. Loose ends start to connect, seemingly all on their own. You slap your forehead and say, "Oh, that's why I wrote that. Of course!" Those moments are mysterious and thrilling. That's a big part of why I do it every year.

Advice to everyone in this thread who has tried and failed or to first timers:

Under no circumstance should you attempt to write a good novel. Just writing a novel in a month is hard enough. Just try to write something lousy that contains 50,000 words. They don't need to be spelled correctly. They don't even need to make sense. You just need 50,000 of them.

That said, do not misunderestimate how difficult it is to write roughly 1,800 words every day for a month. No matter how low you set your quality expectations, it's not going to be easy. There will be extremely frustrating days. There may be extremely frustrating weeks. Lots of times writing will be a boring, tedious chore. But if you keep writing and keep drinking coffee and not sleeping, you'll eventually finish, and then you can celebrate by not writing anything for eleven months.
posted by chrchr at 1:44 PM on October 11, 2009

I'm in again. Last year I failed horribly, which I blame on the fact that I moved last November rather than the fact that I'm terrible at sticking to a writing project. Also, this year I will be using an outline, which might help.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:10 PM on October 11, 2009

I'm in again this year (this is me)
posted by prettypretty at 3:23 PM on October 11, 2009

Oh hell yes.

I've got the text editors installed, I've got my outline started in FreeMind, I've got characters beginning to take shape, and I've got a theme I'm dying to explore.

And my idea, while not violating any copyrights whatsoever, will be entirely unpublishable, therefore quashing any ambition to sell it before I even start. I'm free to just write whatever crap I feel like. Yay!

I won back in '06, and had a blast doing it. I can't wait to get started on Halloween night.
posted by MrVisible at 3:38 PM on October 11, 2009

I'm in again.

Something I really liked my first year was a weekly in-person meeting with other WriMos. We didn't do write-ins, just got together for an hour and chatted about our novels and how things were going.

Well, the local liaison gave it a bit more structure than that, but for me it was the relaxed opportunity to talk about what I was doing with others doing the same that was very helpful to my peace of mind.

And from Anne Lamott, my mantra: Shitty first draft. Shitty first draft.
posted by jaruwaan at 5:46 PM on October 11, 2009

Been putting it off for years. I really have to do it.
posted by johngoren at 7:28 PM on October 11, 2009

Yes. And this will be the first year November doesn't arrive as a near-surprise and I begin with no plot (and plenty of problems). I will be more prepared, and have lower expectations for product, than ever, so...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:35 PM on October 11, 2009

I've attempted it something like three times and have never gotten past Day 2. It's a combination of terrible excuses (being peeved about Bush's 2004 victory/having a broken elbow on my non-writing arm), snobbery at all of the astoundingly craptastic scifi/fantasy around me, and complete selfconsciousness at anything fictional I put on the page. And God forbid anybody know that I secretly harbor dreams of writing a romance novel, because then I would get lumped in with THOSE people. (Who would probably die to be lumped in with me, so we're even :P)

Okay, here's the deal -- and Jacquilynne can vouch for me on this: the only way I have ever been able to get over myself is to be faced with severe restrictions. Writing a sonnet about Sylvia Plath riding an octopus. Doing an Iron Bulwer-Lytton contest. I'm all about the literary BDSM. Anybody care to be my dominatrix?

*sigh* I'm gainfully employed and out of school this year. I suppose I'm in.
posted by Madamina at 11:31 PM on October 11, 2009

I got all the way up to 35,000 words in 2005. Only time I tried it, but I find myself with a lot of free time this fall. I might be in.

Does anyone know if the Nanowrimo site ditches your account after a certain time? Trying to get a password sent to either of my two email addresses results in failure ... perhaps I need to set up a new account?
posted by mannequito at 11:39 PM on October 11, 2009

Last year was my first attempt, and here I am again. I'll be posting the stuff here as I produce it.

I'm nothing like as well prepared as last year, but I suppose there's still a couple of weeks.
posted by Phanx at 1:53 AM on October 12, 2009

jonathanstrange, I hope you're writing a novel called Susanna Clarke.
posted by Phanx at 2:02 AM on October 12, 2009 [2 favorites]

Hmm... I might have to now!!
posted by jonathanstrange at 3:18 AM on October 12, 2009

I'm in again. After last year's dispiritingly abject and complete failure, my lesson learned is that there's no way I'll get to 50,000 with the way my weekend time is largely spoken for, so I'll just use it as a framework to get encourage me to get something done. I have a plot idea, and that's a start ...
posted by thoughtless at 4:42 AM on October 12, 2009

Yay! I did it last year and finished (though I'm sorely lacking in actual talent and the result was a boring mess), and I'm psyched to give it a go again this year. It was a really fun process, I like the forced discipline. Here I am.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:15 AM on October 12, 2009

I'm noveling this year! I've only won once (in 2001) but this year I'm trying a different tack - namely doing a little bit of prewriting and planning. So, hopefully it'll happen for me this year. :)
posted by dryad at 6:40 AM on October 12, 2009

Like mr. crash davis, I've signed up almost every year and never produced anything. So as to keep that streak running (and with a vague and futile hope that maybe this year will be different) I'm in again.

Does anyone know if the Nanowrimo site ditches your account after a certain time? It seems to. I couldn't get in using any of my usual aliases so I just made a new account.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:22 AM on October 12, 2009

Hopefully I'll improve on last years 10K.
posted by nfg at 9:27 AM on October 12, 2009

It is probably phenomenally foolish for me to even attempt this, given that this November is quite likely to be among the busiest months I've ever had at work, but fuck it. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Also, maybe a moderator can change the category of this thread to make it a de facto meetup thread-- that way it'll stay open throughout November for updates...
posted by dersins at 11:24 AM on October 12, 2009

I can't remember the last time I wrote something for pleasure/not-pay, or the last time I wrote fiction. I think I may have been in high school. And that makes me kinda sad to think about.

So. This might be a hot mess. A hot humbling mess. But I'll give it a shot.

me, here!

posted by NikitaNikita at 11:25 AM on October 12, 2009

(is there a way to add, like, "teammates"/ a group to the site, so I can see how other MeFites are doing?)
posted by NikitaNikita at 11:27 AM on October 12, 2009

Oh for fuck's sake.

Dear NaNoWriMo,

You did NOT just send me an email containing BOTH my username and password in plain text.

Oh, wait. You did.



posted by dersins at 11:28 AM on October 12, 2009

Idiots Love Dersins
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:10 PM on October 12, 2009

posted by The Whelk at 1:11 PM on October 12, 2009

Book by dersins
Music by dersins

and starring....

posted by dersins at 1:33 PM on October 12, 2009

I'd quite like to do this this year, although there's no way in hell I'll manage 50,000 words.

Also, how does it work? Do they have a text editor on the site, or do you just upload a text file with it in? Can you see everyone's work in progress?

Anyway, I've signed up.
posted by dng at 3:11 PM on October 12, 2009

It's so, so tempting and such a terrible idea. It plays perfectly to my sense of self-mutilation for a needless cause.
posted by kaibutsu at 5:07 PM on October 12, 2009

Yeah, I...haven't attempted NaNo for a couple of years now, after failing at it two or three times.

And for some completely stupid reason, I'm tempted to sign up again. Because, the best part of the whole experience? Getting together with other people doing the same thing, and acting like seventh-graders at a coffee shop. Seriously fun times.
posted by Ouisch at 6:16 PM on October 12, 2009

So, what the hell.
posted by Ouisch at 6:28 PM on October 12, 2009

Me, first timer. Doing young adult fantasy.
posted by marginaliana at 6:20 AM on October 13, 2009

To all the folks who signed up and then posted about why they were already absolutely certain they wouldn't be able to do this difficult but not terribly complex task...'re almost certainly right. You probably will not be able to finish.


I know self-deprecatory posturing is sort of MeFi's thing (along with self-aggrandizing posturing, and of course kneejerk tech-utopia-inflected too-liberal-for-liberalism), but if you're going to take part in such a massively silly, anti-elitist, frankly anti-literary activity, why not try to get through the goddamn up-front administrative portion without self-justification?
posted by waxbanks at 6:53 AM on October 13, 2009

Simple NaNo advice for first-timers:

Write every day, ideally at the same time or in a somewhat controlled/consistent environment. Habituation is a big part of the craft.

Don't get bogged down in plot; no one gives a fuck. Work out a story, not a plot. Practice narrating it to yourself in a minute or two. Whittle it down to its essence. Nail down the attractive fantasy up front, the story's beating heart. The story will balloon later on.

Exercise. Not necessarily because it will help - though it will - but because flabby failed writers are just such a fucking cliché.

Your first idea isn't good or valuable just because it's first. Stick with it, find its first cousin. Jettison any elements that are transparently self-satisfying, thinly-veiled autobiography meant to settle scores or indulge yourself, or so personal (fanciful vs imaginative in Coleridge's terms) that you'll never allow yourself to write them in plain language. Your ego will not help much unless you can trick it into approving of your experimentation.

If you're embarrassed by part of your story, ask why. Handwaving in your synopsis or outline is often nothing more than a declaration of intent to assfuck yourself later (and not in the giddy experimentation-at-university way).

Drink lots of water.

Stop reading the web in your free time.
posted by waxbanks at 7:02 AM on October 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

I broke 50k in 11 days last year and am unsure if I can beat, let alone recreate, that feat.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:52 AM on October 13, 2009

waxbanks, why do you hate freedom?
posted by Madamina at 8:50 AM on October 13, 2009

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaang, waxbanks.
posted by Ouisch at 9:05 AM on October 13, 2009

why not try to get through the goddamn up-front administrative portion without self-justification?

Because we're trying to piss you off, ya big lug.
posted by dersins at 9:09 AM on October 13, 2009

Waxbanks sounds like a thoroughly lovable young man
posted by dng at 9:12 AM on October 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

If you're on the fence about whether or not to do Nano this year, then you should ABSOLUTELY sign up.

(For one thing, who's to say if there will BE a next year? You could be hit by a bus next week. I'm just sayin'.

For another thing, what's the worst that can happen? You do it for a week then have to stop? That's a week more than "nothing.")

I was a sideline-sitter for many years. Last year I finally said "Fuck it," and signed up on October 30th. I had neither a plot, nor characters, nor the slightest idea what I was doing.

It was a wretched, exhausting, and instructive experience. I wrote 50,023 words of fiction and hated every one of them.

I always believed that I wanted to write fiction "one day." When that day came, it turns out that I actually didn't. Out of the 30 days of writing, there was only one - one! - writing session where the words seemed to flow.

Crazy, right? That's the last result I would have expected.

I realized that what I really liked was writing non-fiction articles. Which by the way is what I had been writing all along in an informal way. It's what I had been writing for years, waiting until my "real work" came along. Waiting until I had the time or the inspiration to write fiction.

Per this realization, on December 1st I started looking for ways I could earn money by writing non-fiction. It's been a long year, and not an easy one, but I now earn 100% of my income from writing non-fiction.

And I owe it all to NaNoWriMo.

So I tell people no, I won't be doing Nano this year, but let me tell you what happened when I did it last year, and why YOU should do it this year...
posted by ErikaB at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2009 [7 favorites]

Very cool, ErikaB.

I'm in a similar situation -- I've written nonfiction stuff (and poetry)sort of informally for a while now. I've assumed I would like writing fiction, and I do have several longish novel fragments to back that assertion up.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to give it another go this year and see if I come to any similar conclusions, or maybe hit my stride with long fiction.

I think I'm going to read some inspiring novels during the remainder of October to get into the spirit.

Anyone else planning to read something special before NaNo? What are your picks?
posted by Ouisch at 10:16 AM on October 13, 2009

My revelation the last time I did NaNoWriMo was the opposite of ErikaB's. I found out that I absolutely love long-form fiction. I'd been writing short stories forever, and that first attempt at a novel was a series of revelations about pacing, characterization, plotting, and rhythm. I got to let my characters have long scenes together. I got to write action sequences that went on for pages.

The boundaries on my short-story world were blown apart, and I launched into the novel with gleeful abandon.

So, to echo ErikaB's sentiment... try it. You never know what you're going to learn.
posted by MrVisible at 10:27 AM on October 13, 2009

I should do this. I'll never do this. But I should try to do this. OK, I'll do this.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:57 AM on October 15, 2009

I've been thinking about it for a while and this year, I'm in. This may be naive, but I'm determined to enjoy it, even when I don't.
posted by Kimberly at 12:48 PM on October 26, 2009

Okay, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to be writing about, but I seem to have signed up.
posted by hippybear at 3:31 PM on October 26, 2009

Fine, I'll do it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:28 AM on October 28, 2009

1 day to start and I am just jumping in the fray. 1 Romance novel in 30 days coming up.
posted by manny_calavera at 12:12 AM on October 31, 2009

This is a terrible idea. I'm in.
posted by Ugh at 12:44 AM on October 31, 2009

I'm in. This is me.

I'm scared.

Hold me...
posted by ninazer0 at 3:32 AM on October 31, 2009

Hold me...

Raincheck 'til December?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:40 AM on October 31, 2009

What the hell, I'm in too. Also have no idea what I'll write about, just planning on winging it and letting the words flow.
posted by mkdg at 7:54 AM on October 31, 2009

Signed up, with the full intention of giving up 3 days in. (oh God it's tomorrow!)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:08 AM on October 31, 2009

I'm on there, as PhoebeWriting!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:24 AM on November 1, 2009

Failed miserably last year, semi-miserably in 2005 and barely failed in 2003 (came up just a few hundred words short). Can't wait to see how I fare this year... Here I am. Good luck, everybody!

Also, because I'm a masochist (and currently underemployed), I'm going to attempt to do NaSoAlMo too. I didn't sign up 'til today, so I don't know if I'm "official" — according to the site you have to sign up before the end of October — but I'm still going to make the attempt.
posted by lovermont at 1:05 PM on November 1, 2009

I'm in for trouble.
posted by naju at 2:30 PM on November 2, 2009

I'm in too. It's the first time I've tried it, and I normally write poetry, but we'll see how it goes.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 8:58 PM on November 2, 2009

So... Did everyone hit 15,000 on schedule yesterday? I know I didn't quite.
posted by Phanx at 4:54 AM on November 10, 2009

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