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IMR: “Write A Novel In A Month? Are You Crazy?”

Since you asked—the answer is yes.

And even as we speak, my mind is going, “Are you insane? You want me to write an article about NaNoWriMo when we haven’t even written our 1,600 words for today! We’re already a day behind and 4,000 words short! What are you thinking?”

To that, I say “quiet down,” because I have a secret—my brain these days is a bottomless hole of written content. I’ve produced more written work in these last eight months than ever before in my life. Even when I wrote an 88,000-word fanfiction in junior year of high school, I didn’t come close to the word count in the poems I’ve got socked away in a special folder right now.

Why did I do that? Well, it’s simple, really. As it turns out, writing (especially poetry and fantasy) is my ultimate form of escapism! Who could’ve guessed that, based on my major, taste in video games, and the fact I spend half my day spacing out imagining scenarios that will never happen. (I’ve been told sarcasm is the lowest form of humor, and to that I say—I think it’s funny.)

Still… my brain has a point. The awesome and awful thing about writing is that your writing won’t write itself! (Even if it feels like it does, sometimes, a little bit.) So thanks, Mind. I think I’ll take your advice. Time to bang out those 4,000 words… maybe… 

NANOWRIMO

After what has decisively not been 4,000 words, I’m back to talk about NaNoWriMo, sometimes shortened to NaNo. Like the old iPod. You expect writers to waste four syllables when they could easily say two? Sheesh.

The abbreviation stands for National Novel-Writing Month: Na—National, No—Novel, Wri—Writing, Mo—Month. The official website, nanowrimo.org, has not only a lot of green tones in the website design, but also about a hundred useful writer’s resources. They track your word count if you put it in, you can make writing buddies on the forums, and you can even find local resources, discounted writing programs, check out their other events, and buy merch! If you’ve never looked around there, and you’re any kind of writer, definitely check it out.

NaNo’s official challenge is deceptively simple: write 50,000 words in the thirty days during the month of November. In fact, it’s not simple at all. November is pretty busy for almost everyone, so finishing NaNo on time is a tough climb.

MY NANOWRIMO EXPERIENCE

I got my first taste of victory back in 2016, my sophomore year of high school. (God, I’m so glad I’m not in high school anymore. I’m about to graduate college! Cheers to that!) I set a goal of 20,000 words instead of the ambitious 50,000, and I wrote about 75% of “The Project,” which stole directly from Maximum Ride and Supernatural in terms of character and overarching plotline. And like I said before, I wrote a novel four times longer than that the next year, but I didn’t do it for NaNo; I wrote it over the span of about six months. I’m still a firm believer in “slow and steady wins the race,” for the record. (In the three months since I wrote my first poetry post, I wrote about 100 more poems. Now that’s what I call a stamina game.)

In NaNo 2019, I wrote 22,000 words of a novel based on the very first D&D campaign I played in. (Remember my D&D post? You can meet the protagonist of my novel there!) Unfortunately, I didn’t plot the novel at all, so I ran out of steam quickly. For NaNo 2020, I actually wrote an outline, did prep work, and finished the novel with another 50K! 

That’s my aim for this year. I’m about 35K into my next work; still behind about 4,000 words, but I know I can make that up. I made up 6,000 last weekend, when I didn’t even need it yet! Still, Thanksgiving is coming up, and I might be stuck in a time crunch to finish. Good thing I work well under pressure… usually… 

WRITING FANTASY

I mentioned before how writing (especially poetry and fantasy; can’t forget that) is my ultimate escapism, but I didn’t follow up on that. I feel that sentiment is important, since this blog is supposed to be centered around escapism. (Is this blog escapism itself, since I’m writing it, and writing is escapism? Win-win.) (I think IMR is more like general creative nonfiction, but let’s not quibble.)

Most of what I write outside of IMR is in those two aforementioned genres: poetry and fantasy. Poetry is its own thing; I wouldn’t classify it as realistic fiction or anything, even if most of it is based in reality. It’s a way for me to make my life much prettier-sounding than it is. Fantasy, though, is a much more direct escape from reality. When I get into the flow state, it’s like I’m standing right there in the world inside the minds of the characters I’m writing about. My thought process isn’t visual (I have aphantasia), but I can create visuals in my writing. Written dialogue is more realistic than dialogue only in my brain. Written descriptions are more vivid and paint clearer picture than I can in my mind alone.

When I was younger, I used to fantasize about a certain time in my life where I would wake up one morning with the perfect novel idea mapped out in my brain. I’d pour a thousand hours into writing this amazing book, find an agent immediately because it would be so amazing, and find myself flung into stardom at a young age. 

Like with other childhood fantasies, I’ve realized reality doesn’t happen like that—but it doesn’t not happen like that necessarily. I don’t expect to wake up to that moment anymore, and I don’t write in the hopes I’ll get rich and famous (though obviously, it would be a nice perk in this economy). Instead I’ll keep banging out drafts and learning to edit in my own way… and maybe someday, I’ll make something I feel good about trying to publish.

I think we’ve got one or two more posts before my last semester closes out, and then there’ll be new interns with new blogs next semester! I hope you’ll come back to visit when they post their work, too. See you next week.

P.S. I finished this entry before Thanksgiving—and I finished my 50K over the break!

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