NaNoWriMo—Training Lean, Mean, Writing Machines

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Yesterday Jami posted about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and I really hope you guys take her class because she is truly a gifted teacher. Today, I want to talk a little bit about what writers (especially new writers) can gain from NaNo.

NaNo Teaches Endurance 

I remember years ago thinking, “Wow, if I could just write a thousand words a day, that would be AMAZING.” When I looked at professional authors, it was like watching a marathon runner—all the while knowing I couldn’t run a flight of stairs without requiring oxygen and possibly a defibrillator to restart my heart. I so struggled to get words on a page, and Lord help me if I saw something shiny.

Of course, after years of practiced discipline, I generally have a thousand words written by breakfast. When I fast-draft (which I do for all my books), my average is abnormally high. But that took YEARS to train to write that clean and that FAST.

NaNo is a lot like a military bootcamp. Many who sign up for military service aren’t in the fittest condition. Sure, we might meet the weight requirements (or get a waiver), but most of us don’t start out being able to knock out a hundred pushups on the spot. We likely have little experience running ten miles with a heavy pack of gear on our backs.

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

Image and quote courtesy of SEAL of Honor on Facebook.

We have to be trained. Bootcamp is designed to push people to the breaking point and then beyond. It challenges trainees physically, emotionally and psychologically. Usually it involves some guy yelling in your face who makes run you all day long, do a bazillion cherry-pickers, lunges, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.

He screams at you as you run obstacles then wakes you at four in the morning to do it all again. You get three minutes to shovel in as much food as you can, just to go run at one in the afternoon in 115 degree heat until you puke.

Fun stuff😀.

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of West Point Military Academy,

Image via Flikr Creative Commons, courtesy of West Point Military Academy.

NaNo Trains in Mental Fitness

But this “brutality” has multiple purposes. First, most of us underestimate what we are capable of doing. D.I.s (Drill Instructors) drive us into a zone we’d probably never step a toe into if left on our own. Secondly, when you are physically exhausted, you’re also psychologically exhausted. Can you keep your cool or do you lose your temper?

Don’t. You get to run an extra two miles while holding a rifle over your head (ask me how I know :D).

This “beating” trains recruits to remain calm no matter what, to be able to think and make fast decisions while under duress, to remain focused no matter what is “blowing up” all around.

Writing is an extraordinarily intense activity. Sure, the professionals make it look easy and that’s why the world thinks we spend all day drinking wine and talking to butterflies. Regular people have zero concept of the mental and psychological endurance it requires to not only finish a novel, but to write someone other people will pay money to read.

NaNo, in my opinion, is bootcamp to train up professionals. Granted, no one is shooting live rounds at us while we belly-crawl through mud, BUT we do have to put words on a page even when the toddler has to go to the potty every thirty seconds. Many of us are also working a day job and we have family drama shooting rounds at us from all directions.

As I’ve said many times before, “Life doesn’t stop because we decided to write a book.” I’ve met NYTBSAs who were taking care of dying family members all while meeting deadlines. They’d had tragedies, or illnesses or a cancer diagnosis and yet they still sat in the chair and put down words.

I know how many of you feel. I was new once, too. No one was tossing a grenade my way, but I had to field the negativity and smart@$$ comments from people who believed writing wasn’t “real” work. In their minds, I might as well have been sitting with a coloring book all day. I had to learn to ignore that nonsense if I wanted to press to the end.

NaNo Trains Out Perfectionism

NaNo trains us to keep pressing even when it isn’t pretty. Back to bootcamp for a sec. Trust me when I say a bunch of kids with a pack running in summer up a hill ain’t pretty. The D.I. doesn’t care how we look. He cares we made it to the top with all our gear.

Our face could be purple and our boots coated in dirt and puke. Doesn’t matter. You’re at the top of the hill, and you can clean your boots later. Stop to clean your boots halfway up a hill and you’ll earn some extra push-ups and another mile or two while the others (who didn’t stop) get to eat and rest.

As Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” By the time you finish NaNo, I promise you will have puke on your shoes (they look a lot like redundant adverbs and silly metaphors). That’s what revisions are for. Too many writers stop to polish their boots prose at the expense of making it to the top of the hill The End. NaNo is the D.I. there to beat that out of us.

Writers who make a good living write at least a book a year and often more. Writers who spend all their time polishing their boots are the ones who never finish, or they take five, seven or even ten years to finish a novel.

So what if they land that three-book deal? NY isn’t going to give them 15 years to finish.

I hope you guys will give NaNo a try. If not, check out Candace Haven’s Fast Draft, though she’s more like Navy SEAL training. You get TWO weeks to finish a novel, not FOUR. People who don’t think writing is physically exhausting should try writing 5,000 to 8,000 words a day fourteen days straight. I’ve completed her Fast Draft three times and it made me a faster, cleaner writer…and my masseuse a richer person😀.

So have we convinced y’all to join in the “fun”? Have you done NaNo before and finished? Have to failed to finish? Why? What are you hoping to change to improved your odds of success? Tips? Tools? Suggestions. As you know we DO have Jami’s class (check yesterday’s post for discount codes) and my antagonist class  is also coming up on October 16th and can make a HUGE difference when it comes to starting any project with a solid core story.

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of October, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

Also, for all your author branding and social media needs, please check out my new best-selling book Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World.

 

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  1. #1 by agzalens on October 11, 2013 - 11:32 am

    Reblogged this on A. G. Zalens.

  2. #2 by TamrahJo on October 11, 2013 - 11:39 am

    Sigh – I will wave goodbye to the butterflies and put away my coloring book –
    BUT You are Not Getting My Jug of Wine!😀
    Wonderfully motivational post – I working through my final edit! 😀

  3. #3 by Jane on October 11, 2013 - 11:44 am

    1000 pages before breakfast is impressive. I am happy to get a few good pages out each day.

    • #4 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 11, 2013 - 11:48 am

      LOL, a thousand WORDS. That’s four pages😀.

      • #5 by Jane on October 11, 2013 - 11:51 am

        Yes, but before breakfast… It takes me all day to reach that goal.

  4. #6 by Babeth Ebeka on October 11, 2013 - 11:46 am

    Wow Kristen , this is intense. I am going to look into one of these trainings and definitely sign up. I have been two years working with three great book ideas… but nothing yet. Arrrgh. Okay, i’ll let you know how it goes. Thanks very much!!!!

  5. #7 by diahannreyes on October 11, 2013 - 11:46 am

    Thank you for the suggestion!! I will check this out.

  6. #8 by Elke Feuer on October 11, 2013 - 11:46 am

    The first time I did NaNoWri I failed miserably! I think the pressure of it got to me, and I was working on edits for other wip, so not a good time.

    I’m trying again this year and I’m determined to finish and not wimp out. Started my outline so I’m ready to rock and roll come November 1st. YEA!!!

    • #9 by Kylie Betzner on October 11, 2013 - 9:17 pm

      I’ve won and lost wrimos. All I can say is the year I won, I focused on getting the ideas on paper and having fun. The year I lost, I stopped to edit and was agonizing on whether or not the words were right . . . so I didn’t get many words down at all. Good luck this year! I go by Kitomi on the wrimo page. Feel free to friend me and I’ll cheer you on!

  7. #11 by Cygnet Brown on October 11, 2013 - 11:52 am

    I have been both to REAL military bootcamp and done NaNoWriMo. This will be my fifth year of putting out a book in NaNoWriMo and to tell you the truth, I would rather keep writing than go back to bootcamp! In addition to NaNoWriMo, I am working on a challenge that I put upon myself that I call 100 articles in 100 days in Hubpages. So far I am on day 33 with no signs of stopping! On top of that, I am also working on my bachelor’s degree online. And my family wonders why I am always sitting behind my computer!

  8. #12 by sharonhughson on October 11, 2013 - 11:56 am

    Okay, I smiled at Boot Camp and I did tons of extra pushups – FOR SMILIING! That’s the sort of thing that makes a DI’s day. I love this analogy between Basic Training and NaNo, though, because it puts everything into perspective.
    This will be the first year I’ve ever done NaNo and I’m determined to finish with something worth keeping. Might be wishful thinking…but I’m still smiling, Drill Sergeant, no matter how many pushups I have to do.

    • #13 by Rachel Farmer on October 17, 2013 - 10:41 am

      I love the analogy of a training camp too – I never thought of it like that!
      I’m starting NaNo for the first time this year too, and I really want to get something worthwhile out of it! Good luck with yours🙂
      Rachel
      http://journeysinlifeblog.wordpress.com/

  9. #14 by Melissa Lewicki on October 11, 2013 - 12:04 pm

    I love the comparison between polishing your boots half way up the hill and polishing your prose constantly. I am three chapters away from finishing the first draft of my first mystery.
    I will be done by next week. Then I will set it aside and work on a second book for NaNo. Then, when I go to West Coast Crime in March I can pitch my first book and be able to say I am well on the way to finishing the second in the series. Thanks for a great post.

  10. #15 by Shea Ford on October 11, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    My parents talked me out of joining the military, and it was the only advice from them that I’ve regretted taking. This will be my first year doing NaNo. And believe it or not, this pantser has a general outline already for the first third of the book. I’ve also got 22 of 30 blog posts pre-written for the month of November as part of a Nano pre-game kick-off contest. I really hope I can make it through NaNo bootcamp especially when Thanksgiving rolls around (since I’m hosting).

  11. #17 by Jen Connelly on October 11, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    This is my 9th NaNo. I got about half way with my first one in 05 and that was with 3 kids (5, 4 and 3) and being pregnant. I tried again and didn’t get far the next few years but in 08, 09 and 10 (that year with 4 kids–10, 9, 8, 4 and a 5mo baby!) I got to the end but never finished those books but it felt good to finish the challenge. In 11 I had a nervous breakdown at the beginning of November that should have put me in a mental hospital. Writing was out (I wrote the first day and that was it). Last year I won again. Back in February I decided to do 750words.com. I got pretty good at it and when I started writing in Feb I had no idea what I was writing. A couple weeks later I realized it was a novel. I finished it 6 weeks later but I wrote 75k words in February including one marathon run of 14,000 in one 8 hour period (no bathroom breaks or getting up at all).

    I’ve learned a lot through my years of NaNo (and writing fanfic) and I am totally ready to do this thing this year. I even outlined. Something I’ve never done before.

  12. #18 by Pauline Baird Jones (@paulinebjones) on October 11, 2013 - 12:22 pm

    i will not do NaNo, it works against the process and the flow of my real life (grin), but will cheer on those who are doing it!

  13. #19 by tam francis on October 11, 2013 - 12:55 pm

    LOVE this post. I’m pretty sure you’re talking to me😉 I’ve been dragging my feet and afraid of the commitment. I’m going now to sign up. Argghhhhh. Not sure why I’m so scared. I’ve written, completed one novel, but certainly not in a month. I’m also a little bit of a skeptic. How can you write anything good in a month? I guess I will find out. Is is true that Sara Gruen wrote the beginnings of “Water for Elephants” as a NaNo?

    My fave part of this blog: “As Voltaire said, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” By the time you finish NaNo, I promise you will have puke on your shoes (they look a lot like redundant adverbs and silly metaphors).” This made me laugh out loud! Woo hoo! Thank you🙂

    Wait, one question: Do ya’ll maintain your social media presence while you’re doing this? Do you store up blogs and then hit publish? Oh crap, now I’m really freaked out…

  14. #20 by Lynne St. James on October 11, 2013 - 1:11 pm

    I’ve been doing NaNo since 2008, but the first time I finished was last year — with a whopping 69,900 words! I was walking on air. It was my second novel written and in February of this year became my second novel published.

    I think I was able to finish NaNo last year for the first time because I finally, finally locked my inner editor in the closet for the month and wouldn’t let her out. She was pissed but overwhelmed with the number of words to edit when I finally let her out!

    I really look forward to November and NaNo every year. I almost wish there was one every month, something about being held accountable on a daily basis where others can see, really keeps me on track.

    • #21 by Kylie Betzner on October 11, 2013 - 9:20 pm

      Have you checked out CampNaNoWrimo? It happens twice in the summer. Also, there are editing months too . . . which are helpful after wrimo as I know my works are a little messy.

      • #22 by Lynne St. James on October 13, 2013 - 2:23 pm

        Hi Kylie, and yes I do know about CampNaNoWrimo. I did it in April this year! I wasn’t able to do it in July though.

        • #23 by Kylie Betzner on October 13, 2013 - 10:28 pm

          Awesome! I finished it in April, but had to quit in July because of a work-related issue.

  15. #24 by Heather on October 11, 2013 - 1:14 pm

    This is possibly my third NaNo coming up. I think I’m going to look at it like training again. Getting the work out bit by bit, even if I don’t win this year.

  16. #25 by Susy Egneus on October 11, 2013 - 1:19 pm

    Superb post and very timely, glad I signed up to your blog yesterday! I just started toying with the idea of the writing bootcamp of Nano to accelerate my story. And maybe a grenade over my head will help…?

  17. #26 by Donna Thompson (@MensaManiac) on October 11, 2013 - 1:26 pm

    NaNo NaNo lol

    Thank you beautiful Kristen for sharing your witty brain with us, not to many women I follow! Unless they prove their intelligence to me and you have!

  18. #27 by Jennifer Rose on October 11, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Once of the best things I did for my writing was to purchase an old IBM ThinkPad T41. Not only does it have a superior keyboard, but the internal wireless is worthless. This means that you NEVER waste time doing anything but Word on your computer. And when you have those momentary quiet brain moments where your brain seeks stimulation? No Facebook to go check. No internet to go to. This also means no momentary research. Helps me stay on track and get 12-16k words out in a weekend.

    My second trick was to spend a lot of time with the RapidTyping typing software, so that I can type 80-90 words a minute, which definitely aids in pumping out 1k words an hour. Every time I sit down, before I start writing, I do a typing exercise. (It’s like stretching for your fingers).
    I hope something from my experience helps someone else! 🙂

  19. #28 by quest4vitality on October 11, 2013 - 1:35 pm

    I leave this comment not so much to have my name put in the hat as to thank you for you wonderful and giving spirit. I linked your blog to mine solely to expand your sharing. I leave this comment because you asked me to and there is a lesson in that for me. ~ Michael

  20. #29 by TraceyLynnTobin on October 11, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    This will be my sixth year participating in NaNo. Of the other five years I took part I won four times, though just barely (I think my highest winning word count was something like 53,000). Last year was my first loss, which hurt, but was hardly avoidable considering I was working out West at the time (12-hour days for 14 days straight, plus an hour’s worth of bus rides per day, and another two days spent on airplanes the entire day). This year I hope to not only win, but actually ANNIHILATE the 50,000 finish line for the first time. I’m giving myself a self-imposed goal of 75,000 words. I’m not entire sure that my story idea will allow for that many words, but if not I’ll just start on the next one!😀

    • #30 by Rachel Farmer on October 17, 2013 - 10:45 am

      Wow good luck with your personal goal! I have never done NaNo before so I don’t really know what to expect… Well done for completing so many though🙂
      Rachel
      http://journeysinlifeblog.wordpress.com/

      • #31 by TraceyLynnTobin on October 21, 2013 - 7:29 am

        Thanks, and good luck to you as well! NaNo can have a lot of ups and downs, but it’s a great journey and the community is so awesome…I absolutely love it! ^_^

  21. #32 by Marta on October 11, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    I LOVED thinking about writing in the same way someone would think about marathon training… something I would never, ever do (but have done NaNoWriMo). Somehow this boosted my confidence as a writer, so thanks!

  22. #33 by Donna Thompson (@MensaManiac) on October 11, 2013 - 1:53 pm

    Tam Francis, that’s the whole point to great writing is the writer’s ability to have their readers think it’s just for them. I’ve learned this along the way and every great writer has! One’s writing has reached to expertise when the content applies to everyone!

    Kristen is a fabulous writer–one in whom I can relate well with. She does not rant foolishly like many do, she makes logical statements which is why I relate with her sensibility.

    Love ya Kristen!

  23. #34 by Donna Thompson (@MensaManiac) on October 11, 2013 - 1:55 pm

    The content doesn’t always apply to everyone though, but such content applies to a majority!

  24. #35 by Alison Doherty on October 11, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Great post! I especially liked what you said about training out perfectionism. On my first MS I spent way to much time making it perfect, before I even knew what it was. I’m excited (and really nervous) to try to pound out a draft that quickly.

  25. #36 by Amy Kriewaldt on October 11, 2013 - 2:14 pm

    I’m a NaNo-Bot!🙂 Since 2008, I’ve done it every year — but only made it to 50k the first year. Then never finished the novel. This year I have high hopes as I’ve spent a lot of time practicing writing, and this is the first year in a long time I will actually have real time to write. This is also the first year I’ve got an outline ready to go, and a concrete idea in my head of what I want to write instead of just winging it when midnight strikes. Thanks for this blog-post; it really puts it into perspective and reminds me why I love doing NaNo every year.

  26. #37 by Tim Scott on October 11, 2013 - 3:03 pm

    I’d love to try NaNoWriMo, since it took me 2 years to finish my latest novel (and not quite done yet). I tend to polish my boots a lot, and the fact I only get about 2 solid hours/night to write, I like to excuse my tardiness in writing a book. But I could use a boot camp to speed up that process…it seems daunting, but “possible”!

  27. #38 by Becky Fyfe on October 11, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    I have done NaNo for 4 years now, “winning” each time. In 2011, I reached the 50,000 word count goal within 14 days and then went on to finishing with a total of 78,000 words. In 2012, I managed 100,126 words in the 30 days of NaNoWriMo. I am also a mother of seven, so I really had to force the time to write into my daily schedule during that time. I would absolutely recommend NaNoWriMo to others though.

  28. #39 by Alison Doherty on October 11, 2013 - 3:50 pm

    I really like what you wrote about training out perfectionism. I’m excited and nervous to try to do that this November!

  29. #40 by Jessica S on October 11, 2013 - 4:17 pm

    Trains out perfectionism… Pffft. LOL. The only thing that’s going to train that out of my stubborn head is a hammer…

    Great post!! I’m following your blog now.

  30. #41 by authorwilliamcrawford on October 11, 2013 - 4:52 pm

    I’ll give it a try. When I wrote my first 120,000 word novel I just decided one day to do it. I first read a book on writing a novel by Walter Mosley—I love his Easy Rawlins series—and followed his advice to set aside time every day to write. Even if you don’t put down too many words, dedicate that period of time every day to sitting in front of your keyboard. It worked for me.

  31. #42 by Ron C. Nieto (@RonCNieto) on October 11, 2013 - 5:16 pm

    Great post. Love the D.I. metaphore… so true! Doing nano is what made me finish my first novel in a timely fashion: before that, I had a havit of writing 50% in about a month, 30% in about another month, and then stay with that last 20% for about three months. These days I still find the end the hardest part, but I push through it (and then fix it with my wonderful editor).

    I really need to write something about NaNo experiences too. There’s a lot of bad press, like joining NaNo is for wannabees only and only crap gets produced, but truth is I’ve never had to edit anything *out* of my NaNo drafts. Plenty of transition-ironing, but never deleting…

    Thanks for sharing this!🙂

  32. #43 by Nicky Moxey (@moxeyns) on October 11, 2013 - 5:30 pm

    NaNo won’t be possible for me this year, personal reasons – but I might try, say, AprilNoWriMo instead!

  33. #44 by louckslindsey on October 11, 2013 - 6:06 pm

    I’m doing NaNo for the first time this year, and I’m more than a bit nervous. I write slooooow while worrying for hours about if that’s the correct place for a comma or if I should rework the whole sentence. Getting to the end takes fo.re.ver! So yes, I need NaNo.🙂

  34. #45 by kitdunsmore on October 11, 2013 - 6:36 pm

    I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo for the last seven years in a row and I’m planning to do so again this year. Kristen is right to say this a great writers’ bootcamp, only I suspect it’s a lot more fun than the military kind. It’s taught me tons about how I work, about the things that can trip me up, and about pushing through when I think I am completely lost. Also, what I think is going on when I write and the actual results don’t always match when I look back later. A good day can produce lousy writing and vice versa.

    Every year I seem to get an additional challenge that makes my NaNo experience a little harder. Last year, we were on the road for half the month and I still made it to 50K. I wrote at tennis courts, in hotel rooms, at my sister-in-law’s house, wherever I was, whenever I could grab the time. I brainstormed in a notebook while we were driving through Utah. It was excellent practice in writing no matter what, a skill I need to keep improving on, because life seems to just keep getting busier.

    My advice for newbies: stay away from perfectionism and serious ideas. If I get too enamored of my story idea, I am likely to freeze up, unwilling to write as quickly as I need to because I’m too worried I’ll mess up my amazing story. Every year, I set out to write something too silly to possibly be published, but before the month is out, I’ve usually stumbled into territory that makes me thing, hey, this could be a really good book! I forget about that as fast as I can and keep writing. I’ll find out if I’ve really got something to work with after 50K, after November is over.

  35. #46 by Matthew Randall on October 11, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    I’m getting on board this year. Your blog has convinced me that I need to get on and do a sequel to the one book I have. Maybe NaNo can get me started on that (and if I end up with another puke-on the-boots MS like other years in NaNo then that’s fine too).

  36. #47 by Kylie Betzner on October 11, 2013 - 9:14 pm

    Great post! Perfect comparisons. As a runner and a writer, I can totally relate. Both take a lot of self-motivation and dedication.

    NaNoWrimo is the best experience for a new writer. It’s what got me writing again after two years of something worse than writer’s block. I’ve been writing everyday since.

    This year, I hope to surpass the 50k goal but I’ll be pleased to win, regardless.

  37. #48 by Marcia on October 11, 2013 - 9:15 pm

    I’ve been working on one writing project for 4 years — inexplicably I’m feeling like this could be my NaNo year. Thanks for the motivation and the tips. How can I call myself a serious writer when I haven’t done NaNo yet? lol!

  38. #49 by Gry Ranfelt on October 12, 2013 - 3:23 am

    I’m going to ask the question: How do you know?😀
    I’m so looking forward to this nanowrimo. The two other times I participated (and won) taught me so much. This time it will be even better. I’m striving for 4000 words a day!

  39. #50 by Melonie on October 12, 2013 - 10:04 am

    I needed this! I “won” NaNo in ’10 and ’11 but skipped last year because I was stuck in perfection paralysis editing those first 2 NaNo novels. So with a fresh idea and some tough love for my inner critic, I plan to complete NaNo and have a similar deadline set for the edits and revisions of that baby🙂

  40. #51 by GaryHeilbronn on October 12, 2013 - 10:08 am

    Hi Kristen. I have enormous admiration for lots of what you say and I can see that many people need the stimulation or motivation of “wordcount” and NaNoWriMo but it concerns me when you say “Writers who spend all their time polishing their boots are the ones who never finish, or they take five, seven or even ten years to finish a novel.” I don’t see the need to polarize the process in that way and I don’t want to see the world drowning in a sea of words that have been badly-chosen, mean little and will never be remembered. You, yourself have talked about how self-publishing has eliminated the so-called gate-keepers of quality … Why not encourage all these eager people to write one damn good or great book even if it takes two or three years rather than twenty trite bits of twaddle… or is ours the age when quality is to be sacrificed to the idol of quantity?

    • #52 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 13, 2013 - 3:24 am

      I think it’s the extremes I am against. Many of these writers who’ve been shopping the same book SEVEN years, that’s fine…but THEY AREN’T WORKING ON ANYTHING ELSE. THAT is the problem. I don’t care if you take 20 years to get a book right, but WRITE OTHER STUFF, TOO. We learn by DOING. I don’t believe in just throwing junk out there, but there is no such thing as the perfect book and a lot of writer believe the work is never “good enough.” Well, hell of course it isn’t! But professionals ship anyway.

  41. #53 by Toni Kenyon on October 12, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    I’m moving house in November – now you’ve got me thinking that I should be doing Nano anyway, because NYBSA’s still manage to meet their deadlines with life going on around them! 🙂 *wonders about how much pressure she really can put on herself with a full time job & everything else going on?*

  42. #54 by 1WriteWay on October 12, 2013 - 3:51 pm

    This post is so awesome, it brings tears to my eyes! No, really🙂 I’m going for NaNo again. My first one was in 2007 and I won. I signed up for 2008 and got broadsided by a day job that just demanded too much. In 2012, I completed the November challenge and then the NaNoWriMo camps in April and July of this year, each time signing up for 50K even though I didn’t have to do 50K. And here I go again. My husband asks, “Why?” and I say, “Because NaNo is the only time when I really focus on my writing.” It does that for me. Gives me permission to push everything else aside and write. Thanks for this inspiring post, Kristen!

  43. #55 by 1WriteWay on October 12, 2013 - 3:52 pm

    Reblogged this on 1WriteWay and commented:
    A truly inspirational post about NaNoWriMo and writing in general. I’m going for NaNo again. My first one was in 2007 and I won. I signed up for 2008 and got broadsided by a day job that just demanded too much. In 2012, I completed the November challenge and then the NaNoWriMo camps in April and July of this year, each time signing up for 50K even though I didn’t have to do 50K. And here I go again. My husband asks, “Why?” and I say, “Because NaNo is the only time when I really focus on my writing.” It does that for me. Gives me permission to push everything else aside and write.

  44. #56 by Jen Donohue on October 12, 2013 - 4:54 pm

    “Life doesn’t stop because we decided to write a book.”

    Oh, how very true this is. During NaNoWriMo and otherwise, I still need to work, I still need to make dinner, care for the dog, do laundry, etc. etc. A lot of the NaNo material talks about retreating from the world and letting things fall by the wayside but….that really just can’t happen for most of us grown ups.

    I like your boot camp analogies. NaNoWriMo has been good mental boot camp to get me writing, get me writing fast, and doing it every day (…..mostly). And it’s important to me to have something that’s workable that somebody might want to read one day, not just 50k words to have 50k words (the way a certain set on the forum seems to behave).

  45. #57 by Laura Russell on October 13, 2013 - 2:00 am

    Hi Kristen, The bit about running w/ rifle overhead, how do you know? I’ve done Nano and not won, but really appreciated all the words I did get written. I am going for it this year after doing Camp Nano this summer. I set the bar low and that helped motivate me. For Oct, I am focusing on writing every day. I am learning to switch that pesky internal editor off. Great post. I’ll be leaving the vomit on my boots.

    • #58 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 13, 2013 - 3:19 am

      Lordy, I was in trouble ALL THE TIME! I won more ribbons and awards than anyone else, but I did more running and pst-ups too. My mouth was my worst enemy, LOL.

  46. #59 by IndianaWonderer on October 13, 2013 - 10:52 am

    Loved this post, Kristen. Will be sharing some of your points at our writer’s group this week!

  47. #60 by Ashley Martin (@papergram) on October 13, 2013 - 10:08 pm

    This will be my 5th year doing NaNoWriMo. I’ve won all five years, mostly due to sheer determination. Last year was the first year I came out with a fully finished novel that wasn’t a hot mess. That novel is now making the agent rounds. Using this upcoming NaNo as a kick in the pants to keep writing and move on to the next story while I cross my fingers and hope for a positive reply to my queries. Thanks for your encouragement and tips!

  48. #61 by tommiaw on October 13, 2013 - 11:18 pm

    Reblogged this on TamBorgia's NaNoWriMo and commented:
    Two weeks to go until the fun begins!

  49. #62 by Richard Leonard on October 14, 2013 - 6:14 am

    Did it last year for the first time. 51K but story was not finished. Will finish this year. My problem is I fall straight back into old habits. NaNo needs to be every month!

  50. #63 by FairytaleFeminista on October 14, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Thank you for the words of encouragement. I’m in the middle of writing two books and sometimes I forget to turn off the internal editor and just forge ahead. I think this year’s NaNoWriMo would be a great way to learn to just write and worry about rewrites later. I’m reblogging this on my site.

  51. #64 by FairytaleFeminista on October 14, 2013 - 8:14 am

    Reblogged this on Fairy Tale Feminista and commented:
    The kind of post that will keep me sane when I participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

  52. #65 by Sonya Contreras on October 14, 2013 - 9:15 am

    What a descriptive analogy! Just because others may see writers tootling through our ‘job’—doesn’t make it less work. Thanks for the reminder that we work then rest.

  53. #66 by Donna on October 14, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    Thanks for the motivation. I need NaNoWriMo. I’m heading to it now🙂

  54. #67 by Jo Malby (@WriterJoMalby) on October 15, 2013 - 5:25 am

    Another inspiring post – thank you Kristen! I’m joining other WANAs for Jami’s course later today and *so* very tempted to at least try this year’s NaNoWrMo. I think trying and a near miss is far better than not and a complete miss😉

  55. #68 by Cheryl Wright on October 17, 2013 - 7:28 am

    Great article. I’ve never been game to join Nano, but did this year. Still not sure that’s a good thing. Guess I’ll find out soon.

  56. #69 by Edward Owen on October 17, 2013 - 7:43 am

    I won Nano last year, but with three separate projects going I don’t think it’s going to happen this year. One thing that helped me was a solid story outline dumped into Scrivener the month before. BTW, Scrivener is the BOMB when it comes to getting words on the page. Literature and Latte (the company that developed Scrivener) is a huge supporter of NaNoWriMo. Those interested can go to http://www.literatureandlatte.com for more info.

    Kristen Lamb in boot camp? Please tell me you have pics and will share them with us!🙂

    • #70 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 17, 2013 - 9:21 am

      Unfortunately, my “military” days were before Smart Phones. THANK GOD! Wasn’t pretty. I won more awards and ribbons than anyone else, but was in trouble more than anyone else, too. Apparently, asking “Why?” is frowned upon, LOL.

  57. #71 by PJByer on October 23, 2013 - 3:36 pm

    Loved this inspiring post! I’ve never done a NaNo but think I’ll give it a whirl this November! I’m also entering a RWA contest at the end of November with my finished first manuscript – so I’ll be polishing that too. I plan to follow your blog regularly🙂

  58. #72 by emily anne on October 30, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    I signed up to do NaNo in… 2006, I think? When I had no earthly idea of what 50k words actually meant. Needless to say, I didn’t win that year.🙂 Since then I’ve written short pieces and novellas, and a draft of a novel that I ended up tossing because it wasn’t working. I feel like I’m as prepared as I can be. My writing group basically peer pressured me into joining up, lol, and I’m pretty excited. It’s nice to have a built in support group. Reading all your posts– especially about Kirk brain vs Spock brain– has helped even more. Thanks for sharing all your wisdom!

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