It’s Almost Time For…

Well, here we are again. Ladies and gentlemen, we are teetering on the precipice of sweet chaos and beautiful insanity. (And I, of course, am on the edge of glory.)

Why do you saying that? you’re probably asking. Are you worked up about exams already?

Well, it is ten days until the end of October.  And NaNoWriMo begins November 1st.

Dear readers, allow me to explain.

What is NaNoWriMo?

Every November on nanowrimo.org, thousands of writers from around the world gather to accomplish the same goal.  Their mission: to write a 50,000-word novel from scratch (with the exception of outlines) before the end of November (11:59 PM).  Thus, NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–was born.  If you want to know more about it, you can click here.

Last year, I took the plunge and participated, and I can honestly say that November 2013 was one of the most exciting months of my life.  Firstly, doing NaNo helped me to spend a considerable amount of time doing what I love.  That November, every moment that I wasn’t writing, I was definitely thinking about it.  Secondly, I wrote a lot more than I usually do–more than 25,000 words over the week of Thanksgiving Break (which I think is a lot of words for anyone to write in that time-frame, not just me).  And thirdly, it helped me not only set a goal for myself, but accomplish it, too.  I spent the midnight hours of that year’s Halloween biting my fingernails and asking myself what in the world I’d signed up for.  After all, no sane person tries to write an entire book in a month, especially someone who’s only written short stories and novellas.

But I was determined to change that, so I persevered, and voilà! By November 30th, my first novel, Deception, clocked in at about 51,000 words.

As you can imagine, I was pretty proud of myself.  And I think that pride got to my head, because, apparently, I’m crazy enough to be doing NaNo this year, too.

NaNo Prep

I was fortunate enough to run head-on into an idea months ago.  So, since summertime, I’ve been trying to flesh out that idea as much as possible via outlines and Pinterest boards.  That is, if you count dedicating entire boards to French models as “research.”  Because I do.

But what else have I been doing to prepare for this month of insanity?  A few things, actually:

I’ve found a mascot.  On one of the many Pinterest articles I’ve read on prepping for NaNo, someone suggested using a writing totem as inspiration on those days where writing is the last thing you want to do (and, believe it or not, there are actually quite a few of those during November).  So I thought for a bit, and decided, what the heck, I’ll use one.

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Everyone, meet Betty.  She belonged to my Grandmother, and was given to me after Grandma Betty died.  I figured it’d be like having Grandma cheer me on herself, but in the form of a plush frog. 😉

I have a mug.  The author of the aforementioned article also said that she uses her favorite mug while writing (because, for writers, November is just as much a month of noveling as it is excessive caffeine consumption.).  Even though I’m not much of a coffee person, I do like tea, and I’ve wanted a giant mug for some time.  So I bit the bullet and bought one.

Here it is! Isn’t it pretty? I honestly couldn’t think of a better Bible verse for NaNo than this one besides Matt. 24:13.

I have a playlist.  Playlists are by far one of the most fun aspects of writing a novel.  It’s so much fun when you stumble across that one lyric that perfectly describes how your character feels or acts, or when you find a melody that sets the tone for your book.  Because my WiP was inspired by Banks’s “Warm Water,” I have that song and several others by her on my book’s playlist.  (“Beggin For Thread” and “You Should Know Where I’m Coming From” both describe my main character really well.)  Then I have some songs by The Killers, and a few by Phildel.  Add one each by Ed Sheeran and 3OH!3, and this thing has a real identity crisis.

Also, since I’ve heard that movie scores really help set a good writing atmosphere, I did some research, and came across James Newton Howard.  He’s done scores for various movies like Treasure PlanetThe Dark Knight movies, or Snow White and the Huntsman.  When I discovered that he also did the score for The Village, one of my favorite movies, I looked it up.  I love the score just as much as the movie, and it’s playing even as I write this.  There’s a lot of violin in it, and, since that’s an aspect in my novel worth mentioning, it fits the mood of the book really well.  I’m not quite used to the “action” tracks yet (because this movie is primarily a thriller), but I think they’ll definitely help me create the dark atmosphere I’m looking for.

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Still trying to decide what my favorite track is: either “The Vote” or “I’m Back, Lucius.”

I have community.  I’m honestly so blessed to be surrounded by people who not only admire me for trying to do this, but want to cheer me on.  Sometimes, it can be hard for us writers, because no one else really understands the kind of work we do.  But I’ve learned that I need acceptance more than understanding, and my friends are willing to give it.

Also, I have God, which is more than enough.  Through an amazing miracle, He helped me win last year (which will be a story for another post), so I’m confident that He will provide for me again this coming November.

I have hopes.  This year, I’m doing something more insane than I’ve ever done: I’m shooting for 90,000 words instead of 50,000.  Even if I don’t make it to the former, as long as I reach the latter, I’ve won.

Why am I setting my goal so high?  Well, I like the idea I have this year.  And I think I like it so much that I want to see it on a shelf in a bookstore someday.  So, once I finish and revise it, I’m planning to start querying.  And by “start,” I mean, “Try querying for the first time ever.”  I’m ECSTATIC pretty excited about it, but I need at least 90K for the genre I want to query in.  And I’d rather write 90,000 words while I still have the motivation to write 50K.

However, because I really, really want to accomplish this goal, I’ve decided that I’m going to be limiting my social media interactions.  Which means I’ll be leaving.  Again, I know.  But, inshallah (God-willing), I’ll be back in a month with more than just my own story to tell.