NaNoWriMo Meme

4 11 2009

This year I am participating (for better or worse…) in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which means that I am expecting myself to write at least 50,000 words this month.

NaNoWriMo Badge

One of the many badges available for NaNoWriMo participants

So far, I’m a bit behind, but I’ve got some great planning work done (more on that in another post).  In the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I have decided to do the NaNoWriMo Meme, which I first saw in Nicole’s It’s All About Writing blog.  To be quite honest, I had never heard of a “meme” before reading her post, so I had to do a little searching to find out what exactly a meme was.  Apparently, it is a well-known trend among bloggers that involves a set of questions that floats around the blog world (sometimes the questions change a bit as they float through cyber space).  Bloggers pick up on these sets of questions, answer them, and then post them in their blogs.  It is a meme.  If you already knew that, you can smile and shake your head at my newbie status to blogging.  For this particular meme, I’ve had to modify some questions because this is my first year of participating in NaNoWriMo.  With no further ado, on with the meme-ing!


When and how did you find out about NaNoWriMo?

I actually just found out about it in October when I became a more serious Twitter-er.  While I was making more and more writer friends on Twitter, I noticed that quite a few of them kept talking about some thing called the NaNoWriMo.  So I jaunted over to Google, filled in the blank field with “NaNoWriMo,” and up popped the organization’s web site, where I saw that it stood for National Novel Writing Month and was a way for writers to support each other as a community as they each attempted to write a 50,000-word novel in one month.  I thought it sounded like a pretty cool idea, so without giving it more than 30 seconds of thought as to what being a participant might mean, I joined in on the “literary abandon.”  I’m just now realizing the implications of writing that much while carrying on a full-time job…


Want to join up on the site (i.e., Want to be my writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo site)?

Add me here.


Where do you write and with what do you write?

I tend to write best at home when my husband and son are asleep (either early in the morning before it occurs to them to wake up or late at night after they have already gone to bed).  I am still working on being able to write creatively through distractions, and I’m hoping I can learn the art of taking every spare moment and writing a little bit to fill the time.  I’ve decided today is going to be the start of that for me–I’m deciding in advance that I’m going to write during my office hours (I’m a college professor), regardless of whether I expect a knock on the door from a student.  If I have ten minutes of downtime, I’m going to spend that ten minutes writing.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…  I’ll let you know whether or not that worked out for me.

I write with either my laptop (I have a love affair with my Mac and take it everywhere with me) or good ol’ fashioned pen and paper.  I used to use pen and paper more often, but I recently discovered Scrivener, which has completely changed my view of writing on computers.  Okay, so I didn’t really “discover” it–I just finally listened to my sister after she had been raving about it for years.  Thanks, Ang!  I fully intend to devote an entire post to Scrivener in the near future, as I really am that in love with it.


How do you find time to write?

I’m still working on this one.  Like I said in the previous question, I’m still figuring out how I can learn to steal any free minutes I have and use them for writing.  I love to doodle and scribble and write little notes, which is why I think I’m getting into this blogging thing so quickly (since I joined the blogging world in September, I’ve started three blogs and love every one of them).  I used to keep a journal but would go in and out of writing in it, as I only had so much interesting to say about my daily life.  I like that blogs (or at least the blogs I write and read) are dedicated to topics–I can write about topics!  In the case of that kind of writing, I really can do it anytime.  It’s the creative writing (i.e., my novel for NaNoWriMo) that takes more time and more mental energy.


Are your partners, friends, and family allies or enemies?

My husband is a silent ally–he supports my decision to write even though he doesn’t quite get it when I say I need my own space to write without distractions.  My son is a friendly enemy–he is too young to understand why Mommy spends so much time tapping away on her computer.  My sister and close friends are super allies, offering to read over rough drafts and more.


What are your strengths, and what do you use to help you get to the end?

I am really good at the planning stages–I get creative, energetic bursts where I can get tons of outlining, note-taking, and short scenes written for the book. I am bad at sustaining said energetic bursts.  When I’m out, I’m really out.  My super allies (mentioned above) provide the encouragement I need to get through to the end.  Also, since I know other people know I’m writing, I feel more pressure to actually produce something… anything!


What are your weaknesses, obstacles, and challenges that hinder you from finishing?

Again, sustaining the energy is my biggest weakness.  My own insecurities as a writer also hinder me.  When I’ve got my bursts, all is happy, and I’m a writing fool.  When my bursts are finished, I swing the opposite direction and think, “Why would anyone want to read this, anyway?” or some similarly degrading thought.  Perhaps I’m a bipolar writer (or perhaps I’m just a typical writer).


Do you plot/outline/plan, or do you write by the seat of your pants?  How much do you plot or how unprepared are you?

I’m a planner.  I’ve got pages and pages of ideas for what direction I think the book should take.  But I’m not such a planner that I force myself to stick with what I originally intended–I like to let the story organically grow while the characters reveal themselves to me.  I had my first novel entirely laid out before I started writing it when halfway through the writing of the novel, the main character changed.  I had completely finished it before I realized I had gotten her age all wrong.  So I’m open to changes, but I still spend the prep time to write out a complete outline with notes from each scene.


Do you participate in the real-life community, to to write-ins and meet-ups in your area?

I have not yet participated in the real-life community–only the web-based one.  I’ve made some great writing buddies through Twitter and the NaNoWriMo site, and their encouragement is really helping me to keep going.  The only real-life activities in my area area a little over an hour away from where I live, and I haven’t been able to go yet to any of the activities.  There is a write-in coming up, though, that I’m seriously considering attending.


What are your writing aids?  Special snacks, music, totems, rewards, or punishments?

I’ve got to have music–I especially love Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Enya in the background while I write.  Their music helps my mind move and focus all at once.  It’s the same music that got me through 19 hours of labor medication-free, so I trust it to get me through a month of labor on my novel.  I don’t do the reward/punishment system–my reward is getting the book finished, and my punishment is not finishing the book.  What more do I need to add?  I have a hand-drawn page of what I want the front cover of my novel to look like hanging up on the wall for inspiration as I write and as I am contacting agents/entering writing contests for my first novel.

That is the end of this NaNoWriMo meme and also the end of my free time for this morning.  In fact, I think I’m going to be late to class (I’ll conveniently not tell my students I was late because I was blogging…).




2 responses

4 11 2009

First, thanks for the shout out. I’m happy to be the one who introduced you to meme’s and this one was a good one.

Second, I’m proud to be one of those aforementioned new online friends that is definitely a cheerleader. I loved reading your answers and realized how much we do have in common.
Maybe someday that ‘online only’ status will change. 😉

Third, I love how organized you are. I just found out this year how much easier it is to write when you’re a bit more organized. I’m not a mac user, so I don’t use Scrivener, but I use yWriter and I love it! It is so easy to organize my scenes, chapters, characters, outlines, and everything else. I can move stuff around easily too.

I’m so glad we ‘discovered’ each other. 😀
Have a great day at work!!

7 11 2009

Ah, you just made me smile. Thank you!

After “discovering” memes, I found a whole blog devoted to memes, so I may be including some of those in the future. You know, for inspiration about what to write about writing when I have writer’s block. Whew, that was a mouthful.

In the near future, I’m planning on writing about the tools I use to write in a future post (you might be able to guess that it will be about Scrivener); would you be interested in/willing to write a guest post about yWriter?

I, too, am happy that we found each other online–I’m still hoping for a celebratory coffee date in STL in December… 🙂

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