So I’ve never really given NaNoWriMo much thought before.

I don’t know why, but I always had something against it… Fine, I’ll be honest with you guys. I’ve always had a hidden fear of NaNoWriMo. I covered it up by saying, “To me, writing is only for fun” or “I’m already in the middle of a project.”

My writing journey began seven years ago, and since then, I’ve never participated. But things are going to change this year. I’m going to hop inside the loop and conquer this NaNo thing authors can’t stop blabbering about.

what is nanowrimo?

I’m guessing most writers already know what it is, but NaNoWriMo is an annual internet event where authors all over the world participate in a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. They can add onto their current novel, or (most common) start a completely new project.

Now, my original plan was to add 50k to my current novel, bringing it up to nearly 100k. But I gave it some thought and asked a few writer friends of mine. I finally decided to start a new project.

Don’t worry…I won’t be abandoning my old one. However, I won’t be working on it until after November. During this NaNoWriMo event I will be working on a book that I have been DYING to write for the longest time.

A fantasy story.

my strange method of brainstorming

Many people say their best ideas come randomly throughout the day. Although I also experience this, most of my story plots I come up with in brainstorms. The story I will be working on in particular for NaNoWriMo was one of the strangest ideas I’ve ever thought of.

It was during one of these little brainstorming sessions. I was sitting in a chair, searching the room to see if I could spot any interesting objects. My eyes landed on an apple sitting on the dining room table.

And then it hit me. A magical apple that could grant any wish! I laughed and shut my notebook. “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever thought of.”

Later that night, I realized that with some work, it might not be too bad.

Here’s the thing. I’ve seen a lot of really strange stories in books, shows, and movies. Really strange. And yet the way they are written or shown is in an artistically beautiful way. Personally, I believe that if an author can take an absurd topic and make me care in a serious way, that’s talent.

nanowrimo should be spent doing something for enjoyment, not because you want to get a project done.

The reason why I decided to stray from my original plan of adding 50k to my current novel is because I was only going to do it to get the book done. Not because I wanted to work on the project more, or because I thought it would be exciting. I only did it because I wanted to be finished. I’ve been working on it for too long.

But then I realized that if you’re going to work, it should be on something you enjoy. NaNoWriMo is going to be a challenge, and you shouldn’t devote so much time and energy into a project that you don’t want to complete in a rushed manner.

I encourage all of you to answer these questions:

  1. Out of all of my story ideas, why are I choosing this one for NaNoWriMo?
  2. What are some things I can do to increase my motivation in this new project?

I’m curious to hear your responses, so if you don’t mind sharing them, please leave a comment below 🙂

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Melissa Torrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I'm Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing! I'd love to learn more about all of you, so please don't hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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  • I had my heart set on NaNo this year- that’s actually how I found this site 😊-but after a lot of reconsideration, I realized that the project I’m working on now isn’t NaNo material. It’s more of a script to be honest, but it’s still writing and I’m ridiculously excited about researching the immense understanding of theology necessary for its plot. This post really helped me see that my NaNo ideas, and which I’m less excited about, shouldn’t be used in such a rush when my story that I’ve fleshed out over the past few months is much more useful for NaNo purposes.

  • I don’t know if I totally agree with you that “you shouldn’t devote so much time and energy into a project that you don’t want to complete in a rushed manner.” At least not for my personal situation, if it works for you then that’s great!
    But the reason I never published a book before Honey Butter is because I could never complete one before I grew board of it. My mind churned out so many new ideas that I could never stick with one for long. So, I wrote Honey Butter in a mouth. The first draft was A COMPLETE MESS. And yes, definitely completed in a rushed manner, but having it done AT ALL, gave me both the motivation and the confidence to go through with it. I rewrote the entire thing, word for word, but it was much easier since then I knew the basics of what I was doing. Writing the first draft was like taking a long hike on a winding mountain trail, the second draft was like reaching the top and tracing the route from above. I saw where I had gone wrong, and all the ways I could improve. The second draft was 10 times better, and I didn’t rush it. It took me twice the amount of time as the first draft did, but it improved extremely. This method doesn’t work for everyone, but it did for me at least.

    This year for nanowrimo, I’m writing a new fantasy novel. I have already written about 20,000 words on it, and I’m hopping to get to 60,000 words by the end of november. I chose this one because I’m super excited about it! And after the all towns an sidewalk and reality in Honey Butter, I’m ready for fairies and forests and castles again. 😉 And for me, any new story is an opportunity for amazing things to happen!

    It’s great to hear that you’re starting a new project! I think that will be really refreshing for you. And giving your mind a good long break from your current novel, actually helps a lot more then you might realize. Good luck!

    • I totally agree with your method of just getting your thoughts on the paper first and editing later. To be honest, that’s what I struggle with the most. What I meant with that quote is that you shouldn’t force yourself to rush a story that you absolutely don’t want to write. In my experience, at least, some stories I have written are more recreational, and rushing it wouldn’t ruin my overall experience writing it.

      I’m glad you are excited about your fantasy novel! I actually haven’t written fantasy in YEARS, so I’m excited on working on one, world-building especially. It’s fun we are writing in the same genre!

      Thanks Millie! Good luck to you too! 🙂

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