My YA Novel · On Writing

Mental Prep for NaNoWriMo – T-minus 11 days to go

National Novel Writing Month is less than two weeks away, and not a day goes by that I don’t get a pull of nervous excitement in my belly when I think that I will be participating again this year.

It has been two years since my last honest effort to write 50,000 words in one month. I made a feeble attempt to participate last year and failed (although not miserably, quite contentedly – I just couldn’t commit!). I have promised myself that I’m going to participate this year and write my heart out so I can finish the first draft of my new young adult novel, ‘Hangman’.

What is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) you ask? Here’s a deffy from the folks who make it all happen:

National Novel Writing Month happens every November! It’s a fun, seat-of-your-pants writing event where the challenge is to complete an entire novel in just 30 days. For one month, you get to lock away your inner editor, let your imagination take over, and just create!

That means participants begin writing November 1 and must finish by midnight, November 30. The word-count goal for our adult program is 50,000 words, but the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.

In 2012, over 300,000 adults participated through our main site, and 80,000 young writers participated through the YWP.

I will be a novelist at work. At serious work. How the hell(oooo) am I going to pull this off as I currently work two jobs, have two kids, exercise, hang with friends and family, eat, bathe and sleep?

Well, my  day has been starting between 6:30am and 7am, and ending at around 10pm. I’ve tried staying up later to write but my eyeballs get all dry and hairy-feeling and I feel like puking. It’s not very inspiring, so staying up late is not a realistic goal for me (even though, come the end of November I may be writing around the clock to make my goal if I have to).

My intention is to set my alarm clock for 5am and write from 5am – 6am. Then I can go back to sleep or keep writing. When I get up this early I feel groggy and angry and pukish, and that’s probably not much better than staying up late to write with dry, hairy eyeballs, but I like the idea of being able to go back to sleep if I need to.

I’m not 100% sure this schedule will work, but I’ve been mentally psyching myself up for weeks to try and make it happen. And I’ve got two more weeks to continue prepping my body and mind for this new schedule.

It’s only for one month. It’s only one hour a day – likely, with weekends off. This is will guarantee me 5 hours of writing time a week, which basically makes my insides jump up and down and click heels with joy. Five hours to do anything related to my novel is about 4.35 hours more than what I’m doing now.

So what does it take to hike up my knickers, plop my booty down in a semi-comfortable (but totally cool looking) chair and write like the Dickens (er, like Dickens?)? It takes a bit of impossible juice, my friends. And I’ve got me a stash I’ve been mixing up for the last few months.

I really, really, really want to finish the first draft of my novel. It took me over three years to finish  my other one – and that included *winnning* NaNoWriMo in 2011. Gah.

I’m pretty convinced that writers have a solid chunk of golden CRAZY in their souls and that’s what keeps us paying attention and writing stuff down. We can’t ignore it, at least, I can’t. So I’m gonna participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. And I’m gonna win. I’m gonna write 50,000 freakin’ words, yo.

I yam.

Will you?

Join me. My user name is: Author Vanessa. Let’s be buddies!

When I participated in 2011, I blogged every time I wrote to give you an update on how many words I’d written and how I was feeling about the process. I’ll do the same this time too. Hold me to it, okay?


6 thoughts on “Mental Prep for NaNoWriMo – T-minus 11 days to go

  1. Hi Vanessa. I will be ‘competing’ for my second year this year. I ‘won’ last year and am using some of the themes that I developed for this year. I’ve been doing my research, have my outline ready and have booked some vacation time from work. The excitement for me is starting and letting the characters take you where ever they decide to go. The great challenge is parking the inner critic; perhaps we all have that; I have a corner in my writing area that I assign them to. I’ll go to the site and ‘buddy-up’ with you and we can encourage other along the way. Talk soon and thanks for writing this blog. regards, roger


    1. That’s wonderful! I’m happy to know someone from our parts who is participating as well. Congratulations on your previous win. You know how this experience works! As far as my inner critic is concerned, she won’t be awake that early in the morning!! Ha! Thank you for reading and commenting!


  2. Good luck, Vanessa! I did NaNoWriMo back in 2007 and it gave me my first published novel. It’s a wonderful, if gruelling, process. I agree with your idea to write first thing in the morning – always works best for me, even if it does feel horrible getting up so early!


    1. Thanks, Andrew! For reading and taking the time to comment! Congratulations on your first novel! What is it? I’m gonna google you! Here’s hoping that this NaNo will reap the same benefits for me! 🙂


  3. Looking forward to your daily posts and reading the progress of your story! It looks like November is going to be a busy month for me as well! Love being your editor!
    You can do this, I know you well enough to be sure. You have my full support, friend.


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