NaNoWriMo and Blogging

NaNoWriMo and Blogging

November is the month when a group of people try to write 1667 words per day for a month. they have write-in events, word sprints and many other gimmicks to encourage them to break the challenge into less daunting challenges. I didn’t even consider participating this year for a simple reason. This is my 360th day in a row of writing a daily blog post.

The Daily Blog Challenge

My challenge was less ambitious. My goal was to write at least three hundred words per day, every day, without taking days off. I didn’t allow myself to count a photo as a blog post because that would be too easy. I wanted to give myself a productive challenge.

I chose to write a blog post every single day for two reasons. The first is that I grew tired of seeing ads and posts I didn’t care about on Facebook. I grew tired that the time that Facebook was wasting was benefiting them, without benefiting them. By writing a blog post daily I would “waste” an hour or two every single day. Eventually though, that waste of time would benefit me. The first benefit is that every single day for 360 days I have had to stop, think, and write.

Some days I would sit in front of the computer looking for inspiration for an hour or two and find none. This didn’t matter. I always think of something to write. Every day i have a blog post to show for that two or three hours of focus.

NaNoWriMo is 1667 Words Per Day For A month

If you try the NaNoWriMo challenge you have to write 1667 words per day, and you need to try to create a novel, if possible. It is the National Novel Writing Month after all. I like the idea of writing every day, but I hate the idea of writing fiction at the rate of 1667 words per day. It’s my inner censor, that I am not good at controlling. My inner censor, when it comes to fiction writing tells me that it’s crap, and that I should stop wasting my time.

Achieved Once

Quite a few years ago I achieved NaNoWriMo. I reached the daily word count. I enjoyed the writing process but I never had the strength of character to re-read and edit what I wrote, so it lay dormant. Every subsequent time I tried to write a NaNoWriMo challenge my inner censor got me to give up. I don’t have the confidence to participate and achieve this challenge.

If I want to catch up with the NaNoWriMo challenge I would need to write a further 10,000 words today, and that is what I don’t like about the challenge. When you’re working towards such a high word count you waste words and effort. You write, in three hundred words, what you could write in ten.

Imagine going from micro blogging to NaNoWriMo. The contrast is huge.

Fighting the Inner Censor

When you write 1667 words per day you don’t need every word to be kept. The aim is to be verbose so that a week or two down the line you have something to edit, re-write, and re-work. The aim is to let go of the thought that you’re writing crap, and to get ideas on paper. The aim is to spend the next eleven months re-editing everything that you have written, into something that is more interesting, and more worthwhile.

According to I have written 322 posts this year, containing 167,000 words. I achieved this by writing at least three hundred words per day, every single day of this year so far. I like having this daily goal, and habit, and the beauty of this is that it’s a year long project, rather than a one month goal. The habit is part of my daily routine, for several seasons now.

The community is built around a website but events also take place in the physical world, so if you participate you can meet people in person, and write at the same time as they write. This is a challenge where you can expand your social network. A few years ago I went to events but not recently.

NanoWriMo Discounts

Aside from getting into the writing habit, you also get discounts via the website. This means that if you want to use Novlr, Day One, Freewrite, Scrivener or other options you can get a discount. In some cases you get a free year. In others you get a discount.

Complete Freedom

You don’t need to write a novel. You can write e-mails, blog posts, a work of fiction, poetry or anything. In theory you could count anything you write. Writing is writing. Writing daily is writing daily. Fighting the inner censor that says “stop writing junk” is one of the key challenges writers like me had to overcome.

And Finally

One reason for which bloggers should not participate in NaNoWriMo is that the blog post that could have been done in three hundred years gets prolonged and extended, from that quick to read three minutes, to something that takes four and a half minutes to read.

2018 Nanowrimo attempt

2018 Nanowrimo attempt

As an introvert, I have a tendency to listen and daydream rather than talk. It is for this reason that the Nanowrimo challenge is an interesting one. It encourages me to be verbose, to use more words than I would usually use. It also forces me to find 1667 words of inspiration on a daily basis. This is a challenge. When you’re inspired it can take about an hour and a half to two hours depending on typing speed or it can be split into chunks. 

Current nanowrimo progress
Current nanowrimo progress

This morning I wrote a draft about the routes you can cycle if you go west from Nyon and tomorrow I plan to do the same but for routes that go east. When I format them as blog posts I will post them. It will provide you with a more in-depth and informed look at cycling opportunities if you’re looking to cycle between Geneva and Nyon.

You can write about anything during the Nanowrimo attempt. You can write fiction or fact, love letters or blog posts, or anything. The principal goal is to get in the habit of writing every single day, and of not worrying about editing and post-processing until December and beyond. 
A few years ago I managed to write a 50,000-word fiction piece and never found the courage to read it. It’s a challenge to write, especially when you force yourself to keep going despite your instinct telling you that what you’re writing is rubbish.

You can look at it another way. You can look at writing like taking pictures or taking video. You’re not taking that picture or that video sequence because you love it, you’re taking it because when it comes to the editing phase you want to have a number of choices and opportunities. You want to get rid of 90 per cent of the content and just keep the good stuff.    This writing month is fun. It’s enjoyable to write, and imagine, and as you imagine write what you are visualising, until inspiration breaks, and you need to walk around, do something different for a while, and then come back and write some more. It is pleasurable.

There is also the added dimension that you can meet other people who are doing the same thing. There are events in Lausanne and Zurich this weekend, so if you want to be with people staring at their laptops rather than their phones this is a good opportunity. ? Co-working without the financial gain.

There is another dimension to this. I want to broaden my work opportunities and one way to do this is to demonstrate that I have the ability to write well and to be concise and to write in an interesting manner. I can’t prove that with a tweet or a facebook post but if I blog frequently, and I improve my writing ability then I have more of a leg to stand on.

We’ll see what I find inspiration to write about over the coming 30 days. Now to see if I can find the motivation to experience traffic to go climbing indoors this evening.

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A busy few days

Tomorrow I will be in Lausanne once more, this time to meet the people from Bloggy Friday. It’s Switzerland’s bloggers and social media types coming together for a chat and the traditional fondue (or so it’s been for the past few weeks) and an opportunity to hear about new projects.

Last month it resulted in me hearing about minsh and going to a demonstration of what the website will provide for users of twitter. i’m not going into details just yet but when it comes out some people might find it quite interesting.

The second event is the TGIO (Thank goodness it’s over) party for the National Novel Writer’s month and the Swiss writers that participated. it’s a sleepover right next door to where I live and that will be interesting.

The main event comin up is of course LeWeb which I will be attending this year through a great piece of luck. I’m looking forward to the presentations and meeting many new people. It should be an interesting to pick up ideas for how to develop and re-wrte some parts of the book I’m currently working on.

The culmination of the week of course will be on Friday when 30 of the French Seesmic community will meet for a dinner.

In all it’s going to be a very social media week and it’s refreshing for it to take place in a place like Paris. I will take some video and photographs and blog what I think is of interest. For now it’s a restful evening whilst looking forward to the fun week ahead.

I made it to 50,000 words in 25 days. I won.

It's complete

That’s it. I’ve made it. I wrote 50,000 words in 25 days, That’s an average of 2000 words a day for 25 days. That’s a lot of writing. That’s a lot of re-writing. It was fun meeting some of these writers over the past two weeks and I look forward to at least one or two more meetups. In the meantime I’m one of those that have completed the task.

Let’s see how many others have achieved the goal.

Fourty thousand words, ten thousand to go

Yesterday I spent the afternoon in Starbucks in Geneva but found no inspiration there. I was surrounded by NaNoWriMers from around Switzerland and a few of them were writing quite succesfully. some of us though just spent a few hours talking. That was good too.

It’s only as I was driving home and looking at the road, the signs and the night drive that I found inspiration to write once I got home. The first thousand words came easily, within a short time they were down on paper. What I did struggle with were the second thousand words I had to write to get to my personal goal of fourty thousand. I was up till one am looking for inspiration. I wrote something, then re-wrote, finally I found the order I liked. I checked and there I was, at fourty thousand words in 22 days 🙂

I want to get the writing finished with. I really want to wrap up the story and start proofreading. There are certain chapters that need a lot of re-working and others that I could publish with just a tiny bit of re-working. I really want to make it readable, and I want to make sure the story is coherent.

In five days I think I will have finished it properly :-), two thousand a day 🙂

Over thirty one thousand Words written in 18 days for Nanowrimo

With just under two weeks of writing left for Nanowrimo I have reached over 31,000 words in that space of time. That’s an average of 1750 words a day. It’s been a good experience so far and its now that I’m starting to worry about the proofreading part. It takes long enough to proofread an essay or dissertation, let alone 50,000 words from a document such as this one.

I did feel good about reaching those 30,000 words. The chapters have grown in length and I have experimented with dialogue. I have started to think about narrative in more detail and I know that there are a few things that I would do differently.

There is one thing that surprises me. Whilst a lot of people are aiming to write for Nanowrimo most of them are slightly behind the word per day count. Some are really behind. I read that last year 15% of those that took up the challenge did not complete the task. I wonder what the percentage is this year, and how many have participated.

We’ll see how it feels when I hit at least 50,000 words. How will I celebrate getting that far into writing a story? Not long left anyway.


Fribourg Nanowrimo

I always go to social media events and meet a lot of geeks who love to use new technology such as twitter, seesmic and more. For once it’s a little different. I’m in Fribourg where I’m surrounded by writers. There are a lot of PC rather than Mac computers. The hot chocolate is good and the city is nice.

Fribourg, Switzerland

At the time of writing there have been two word wars. The concept is simple. Write solidly for five minutes at a time and see who has the highest word count. So far I’ve written 313 and then 328 in two sessions, not bad.

Word count is now over 24,000 words.