Monday, October 31, 2016

T-Minus 1 Day to Nanowrimo

So tomorrow Nanowrimo* begins. I will be participating this year. I think this is my third or fourth year. I’ve only completed one year, but I’m definitely going to complete this year.

I’m in a fantastic writing group on Facebook, the 10 MinuteNovelists, and they have set up a sub-group for Nanowrimo. Of course I’m in that sub group too. I love my fellow FB writers. Writers are truly the BEST people. We are all trivia champions. And grammar nerds. And bookworms. Plus, where else on Facebook can you have a serious conversation about how long it would take a human body to turn into compost and NOT be considered weird?
So in this FB group, people are commenting about how they are preparing for nanowrimo. Some people are cleaning their houses before November starts, knowing that they won’t have time to clean during the month. Others have laid up supplies for writing: protein bars, caffeine drinks, fresh notebooks and pencils. And many have begun outlining their novels. This isn’t cheating – as long as you don’t count the words you’ve written in outlines, you aren’t cheating by working on the structure of your novel before November 1.

Now, I’m a pantser. That means I get a vision or idea in my head and just start typing as fast as I can, getting the words on the screen with no idea where I’m going or what I’m even writing. Other people are plotters, which means they plan ahead. It’s very much like the difference between a P and a J in the Myers Briggs. No surprises, I’m a P.
In the past, my approach to nanowrimo has been to pants the entire thing. And one year I succeeded. I pantsed my way through an entire 50,000 word office comedy. It was hard work!
But this year it’s different. This year I plan to use the Snowflake Method and plan my novel. My novel is a sci-fi novel set on a mining ship in orbit around Pluto. Although I have a plan, I haven’t done ANY actual work. I take that back. I actually have written several thousand words on this – it was the novel I started last year. But I won’t be counting any of those words. I’m throwing ALL of that out and starting fresh. And each word I write for my Snowflake planning will count towards my nanowrimo total. 
And of course, in true pantser fashion, I'm already having second thoughts about my novel. I may switch from sci-fi to fantasy, writing a story about a matriarchal goddess culture encountering a patriarchal god culture and finding a harmonization.
I’m not stressed out about nanowrimo, although being around so many people who are preparing and plotting does make me feel a bit uneasy!
By far the biggest reason I’m not worried about nanowrimo is another challenge I’ve been working on all year: the 365K Club, also a part of the 10 Minute Novelist group. I’ve been steadily plugging away at my word count, finding techniques and tools that help me write. In January I wrote just over 10,000 words. In September, I wrote almost 34,000 words. How? By staying faithful. Seeing the increase in numbers shows me that I can do this! I can write 50000 words in just 30 days. Can’t wait to get it started!

*For those who don’t know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. Writers join together via the internet and we all promise to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November.


  1. Hello Pastor Elaine. I am also a Pastor from Mumbai, India. I am so glad to know that beside you being Pastor are a writer. May the Lord help you to excel in both, Pastoral ministry and also writing novels too. I am blessed and feel privileged and honored to get connected with you as well as know you through your profile on the blogger and the blog post. I love getting connected with the people of God around the globe to be encouraged, strengthened and praying for one another. I have been in the Pastoral ministry for last 37 yrs in this great city of Mumbai a city with a great contrast where richest of rich and the poorest of poor live. We reach out to the poorest of poor with the love of Christ to bring healing to the brokenhearted. we also encourage young and the adults from the west to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. We would love to have young people from your church to come to Mumhai to come to Mumbai to work with us during their vacation time. I am sure they will have a life changing experience. My email id is: dhwankhede(at)gmail(dot)com and my name is Diwakar wankhede. Looking forward to hear from you very soon. God's richest blessings on you, your family and ministry.

  2. Yay for NaNo! I hope the words work with you this month and I'll see you at the end!