Last week, I took the first chapter of my brand-new story to critique group. It was a scary prospect, and not something I would do with anyone but my most trusted writing pals.
While we were chatting, we talked about how a few of us are at the beginning stages of drafting a new story and how we'd love to get some real progress done. As I often do at this time of year, I exclaimed "Let's do NaNoWriMo!"
I've been a fan of National Novel Writing Month for over a decade now, even though I failed the first two times I participated. So trying to use November to draft a big chunk of this new story appealed to me, especially as my teaching load these next few months is keeping me really busy!
My critique partners were less enthusiastic. The word count--50,000 words in one month--felt daunting to them instead of energizing. So I suggested a different approach. NaNoWriMo calls folks who set out with a different goal besides writing 50,000 words in the month of November rebels. And I, of course, love that.
While everyone doesn't necessarily identify as a rebel, I know most folks like fun, so I suggested NaNoFUNMo! No set word count. No "finish the draft" goals. No pressure. Just fun. And writing. Because if there was one thing we could agree on, it was that we wanted to try to write five days a week in the month of November.
And suddenly, there was a lot more enthusiasm. Because let's face it, drafting is hard! I was lucky enough to hear Barbara Kingsolver speak in Seattle this week about her stunning Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the opioid epidemic in Appalachia, Demon Copperhead. And one of the many wonderful things she said was that drafting is like giving birth to a child, while revision is like brushing their hair.
So anything we can do to make the hard work of drafting feel like fun is a bonus, right? I'm going to be posting all of my planning and fast-drafting tips for the next six weeks over on Instagram, so go take a look and follow along. I promise to make it FUN.
And I'll be teaching a session on what to do after NaNoWriMo (hint: REVISE not PITCH) on December 8 for the Orange County Library System. It's absolutely free, but registration is required: https://attend.ocls.info/event/9306376
What about you? Have you ever tried National Novel Writing Month? Are you planning to give it a go this year? What questions do you have about planning and drafting your novel? I'm here to help.
PS - There's still time to register for CP Meet Cute, my free critique partner matching service. Fill out a brief survey, meet your matches next month, and get started trading pages. It really is the best way to level-up your writing. Check it out: https://pages.julieartz.com/cp-meet-cute