Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let's Kick Some Keyboard!

Question: So, ah, if it's not too personal, what's your NaNoWriMo word count today? 

If you answered 10,000, please leave the room and don't come back.  If you answered 5,000, you can stay where you are but for God's sake be quiet. If you answered less than 5,000 (perhaps you said: zip, zero, zilch?) then I've got good news for you: 

Saturday, November 9 is Writing Marathon Day.  Woohoo!

Clear the calendar, take the kids to Grandma's, and send your husband to a sports-beer event. It's time to kick some keyboard.

How many words can you string together in 24 hours? Heck, they don't even have to make total sense! In past NaNo years, I've written stellar passages like this:

It was a dark and stormy night, (ah, can't use that, but setting should be dark, moody, dangerous). The car Camaro--red Camaro-- cruised to a halt outside the seedy bar. Electra parked and stared moodily ahead.  She had surprise on her side and the cool steel of a INSERT NAME OF GUN HERE heavy in her pocket.  Jason Bourn Jason Nourn Jason McNeil Jase would atone for his sins today or, she thought grimly, she would die trying to make that happen. In a swift movement, before she lost the little courage she had, Electra swung out of the car and walked, strode, marched, stalked …. 

Well, you get the picture. It's not supposed to be perfect or even totally coherent. A few years back, I took myself off on a writing weekend. I wrote almost every waking hour of the 2.5 days I had. The story, bundled up inside me for months, flowed out like a river of words I couldn't halt. Finally, I tried to take a break and went to a local diner, but soon was scribbling the next scene on the paper placemat under my lunch. By the end of the weekend, I knew the characters and structure of my story. I didn't know whether Electra would stride, march or walk but I knew the important stuff: the who, the what, the where, and the why.
On Saturday you can stay at home and write in your PJs all day, or hang out with like-minded writers. In the DC region, there are three in-person events planned and more may pop up as the week progresses. Click here to see the full calendar. If you can't attend an in-person event but want some company, check in with NaNo for livestreaming or join the #NaNoThon on Twitter for updates, challenges, and giveaways.

Paired with this day of writing mania is a focus on fundraising. National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes your story matters.  NaNo has set a fundraising goal of $50,000 (hmmm, that number seems familiar) and suggests you put a financial value on the length of time you're going to write and donate that amount. And, there are PRIZES!!!!

    Why donate? Well, first, hosting a month-long writing event ain't cheap. NaNoWrimo needs to raise approximately $1.2 million to put on the 2013 NaNoWriMo and other programs.  Second, when you donate to National Novel Writing Month, you help bring free creative writing programs to more than 500,000 kids and adults in approximately 100 countries, 2,000 classrooms, 600 libraries, and 500 NaNoWriMo regions every year.

    So, this November 9, put your money and your word count where your mouth is. Give to NaNoWriMo and pound those little plastic keys until they sing for you!

    We'd like to hear from you about your NaNo experience and if you're going to a Saturday event. Tell us all about it.


    1. I'm excited to say that (while I'm not participating in NaNo this year) I will be doing an all day writing retreat on the 9th so I can at least *feel* like I'm nanoing. Score!! And wouldn't it be nice to hit that 5k work count mark? Yes [I nod enthusiastically. I nod empathically. I nod like a bobble-head high on steroids], most certainly yes!

    2. You are so inspring.

      I want to write non-stop that day as well and my head also is bobbling, but... the boy scouts are having a sleep over on the UMD football field and --*&%$@@#!-- I may have to sit through the football game preceeding the sleepover WHICH i am not taking part in thank you very much.

      Still there is the night and sunday morning...

    3. Fun post, Shellie. Thanks for the great information on the NaNoWriMo events in the DC area. I'm not officially doing NaNo this year, either. But I'm all for getting full days of writing whenever possible. Good luck to all those R8ers who will be NaNo-ing this year & to participants in the greater Washington DC area. May you write your hearts out( onto the page). ;0)

    4. Loved your post, Shellie. Great info on NaNo. I"m not going to officially do NaNo this year but I'm going to let the spirit of it carry me forward. I did quite a bit of writing and editing today so I guess it is rubbing off on me.

    5. I'm not NaNoing this year either but I thought the Marathon Day would be fun--if I can ditch those boy scouts that are cluttering up my day.