…I’ll probably be writing, in celebration of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). See? Here’s a postcard stamp to prove my intentions.
Since I decided to do this I’ve discovered that there are lots of cool tools on the web to help you outline your plot, characters, settings, and all the other elements you need to write a novel. But I’m going to stick with a simple tool I learned about back in June and have used 78 times since: 750words.com.
Why? Badges. Like flair and stamps, collecting virtual badges on the site is fun in the same way earning Girl Scout badges or adding stickers to my sticker book was circa 1985. 750words.com does not have stickers you can scratch and they smell like pizza. But because I’m going to sign up for the November monthly challenge, I have the potential of earning the following badges:
- Albatross (for 30-day writing streak)
- Turquoise Horse of Awesomeness (for completing the challenge)
- NaNo typewriter (for generating 50k words in a single month)
- and, because this will put me over 100K words (I’ve generated 68,482 since I started using the site), I’ll also earn the beautiful Flock of Birds badge.
- I probably will not earn the Hamster badge for no distractions, because I will need several breaks for coffee on the high-word-count days.
Here’s how it breaks down. Using 750 as a word-count minimum on weekends and holidays in November–I count 12 of those–I figure I can get 9000 of NaNoWriMo’s goal of 50,000 words.
Then, on the 18 days in November when I have child care for my little stinker (see below), I can do 2278 words each time. Which sounds like a lot, but by my calculations should really take only about 60-90 minutes total, and this can be broken up into 2 or 3 sessions.
I don’t care if I actually end up with a novel by November’s end. These days I’m exploring bits and pieces of family stories but have not conceptualized any particular narrative sweep. NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not necessarily quality.
Plus, I’m inspired by something I read this summer in Pat Schneider’s book, Writing Alone and With Others [paraphrased]: For God’s sake don’t sit down and say, I’m going to write a novel, or essay, or poem, or whatever. Generate the content first, then figure out what form it wants to take.
I find that a very freeing approach. So, my goal for 2011 NaNoWriMo: to write 50K words. I’ll let you know when I’m done whether there’s anything worth sharing in there!