October 6, 2011

Calling All Future Best-Selling Authors!

Posted in Writing Spashes tagged , , , , , , at 11:57 pm by Tamara

If you didn’t guess from my last post, I’m writing a book during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again this year!  I wrote here about the experience last year.  I don’t know how, but I seem to have forgotten how hard it was, because I am SO excited to do it again!  (In spite of the fact that we will be driving to Colorado the first two days of November and then trying to do things like, oh you know, find a place to live, take care of a baby, and still pass my classes.)

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to stop saying “Someday I’m going to write a book” and just do it.  Last year (on October 30th) a friend asked me to do it with her and I decided on a whim to go for it.  It felt a bit like running a marathon after two days of training, but after much blood, sweat, tears, mental blocks, twitching of my eyes, and aching of my wrists, I finished!  (See my winner button??  *ridiculously excited grin*)  Because I had to write so much so quickly (50,000 words in one month), it forced me to focus on quantity, not quality, which is perfect for perfectionists like me.  As they say, a horrible first draft can be edited (and believe me…it was horrible), but you can’t do anything with a blank page.  Having a set goal and some competition was exactly what I needed to stop saying “someday,” stop overanalyzing, and just make writing a priority.  And it was amazingly gratifying to finish the month and be able to say I’d written a book!

Now, to get to the point of this post, I’m doing it again, and I’m looking for writing buddies to do it with me!  If you have even a hint of an inner author begging to come out (and I am thinking of quite a few of you who I know do), why not give it a go?  It is so much easier to keep going when you have the accountability of friends, so I hope some of you will do it with me!  And imagine the amazing satisfaction of finishing the month and being able to say you wrote a book!!  Once you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website, there are lots of fun things to keep you motivated and accountable, like charts where you can track your daily word-count progress, hilarious and encouraging pep-talks from published authors, forums on writing techniques, etc.  The new site for this year will be up on October 10th.

There’s a famous Ira Glass quote (see video below) about how when you start doing creative work there’s a gap between your ability and your taste, and the only way to bridge this gap so your work becomes the wonderful thing you want it to be is to do lots and LOTS of work.  NaNoWriMo is the perfect way to start doing that!

So…who’s ready to join me for a month of literary abandon?

 

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Book Review: No Plot? No Problem!

Posted in Book Reviews tagged , , , , , at 11:45 pm by Tamara

Title: No Plot?  No Problem!  A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Author: Chris Baty

Genre: Non-Fiction, Writing

Verdict: **** (out of 5)

Written by the founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), this is a funny and encouraging guide for NaNoWriMo participants.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to stop saying “Someday I’m going to write a book” and forcibly  kick it off your bucket list by writing a 50,000 word novel in one month (November).  Hundreds of thousands participate in NaNo every year around the world, and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys writing but is too much of a perfectionist to just sit down and do it.  NaNo forces you to focus on quantity, not quality, because, as they say, a horrible first draft can be edited, but you can’t do anything with a blank page.  If you’d love to write a book “someday” but the very idea of writing a book in a month makes your perfectionist self want to scream, faint, or huddle in a corner whimpering, this is the book for you!

The first half of the book is tips on preparing for NaNo: imagining your basic plot, fleshing out your characters, choosing a point of view, etc.  The second part is a week-by-week guide for NaNo, offering advice and encouragement for the ups and downs of the month.  This is the perfect book for anyone who dreams of writing a book “someday” but thinks they don’t have the time now, or who finds themselves paralyzed by perfectionism every time they try.  The book is chock full of encouragement to keep writing, ignore your vicious inner critic, and relish the thrill of finishing the month and actually being able to say that you wrote a book!