Yes, I am!
As NaNoWriMo starts next week, I was thinking that maybe I should put the word out on WordPress that I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I’ve seen that there are loads of other bloggers doing it too!
On the NaNoWriMo site, October has been designated as “Preptober“, a time to get our minds into the writing mindset, to do some planning (or all the planning if you are that way inclined!) – essentially to get excited about the whole thing.
No, not really, I can’t wait to start!
What have I done to prep?
Way more than I did last year!
Here’s what I’ve done since my last post:
❈ Read a few books about writing non-fiction
Most of these have been recommended by other writers or through Hay House Publishing. Some I bought in full and others I just read the sample. There’s only so much I can spend on books each month! And at some point, I need to stop reading and just write!
The ones I did read in full really boosted my Goodreads book count for my personal reading challenge!
- To Show and To Tell by Phillip Lopate – general advice about writing in the ‘essay’ genre and going against all current advice, saying that in this genre its OK to show as well as tell!
- Your story: How to write it so others will want to read it by Joanne Fedler – this one is specifically about writing memoirs and was written in an engaging way. Fedler provides many reasons why we should write our stories and to trust the process as well as sharing hints and techniques for writing.
- If you want to write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit by Brenda Ueland – a classic, wonderful book about finding the motivation to write. The basic message is that writers should “Try to discover your true, honest, un-theoretical self.“
Others that I dipped into via Kindle samples were “The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life” by Julia Cameron. As a fan of her book “The Artists Way”, I was pleased to find that this book seems equally engaging and I will be buying the full version next month; “On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction” by William Zinsser and “Thinking About Memoir” by Abigail Thomas. And coming from our local online store pretty soon: “Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life” by Anne Lamott, which I can’t wait to read!
❈ Following a few writing blogs
My favourite from this month is called DIYMFA founded by Gabriela Pereira. Their approach is based on “a secret no one ever tells you. The typical MFA (Master of Fine Arts) boils down to one simple formula: Writing + Reading + Community = MFA“. They have a Starter Kit you can download, but I’ve spent some time perusing the blog posts about writing! There are some great ideas there.
❈ Did some ‘research’ on how others write
Last weekend, I chose a few excerpts from three books that I’ve read recently and analysed the writing styles. I’ve never done this before! I made up my own process and it was fascinating! I looked at sentence structure and length; literary techniques’ dialogue and use of colloquial and narrative language; the structure of sections and chapters; how they dealt with backstory and if they used an “intelligent narrator” technique (something that Phillip Lopate talks about in his book).
Glad I did it.
I learnt a tonne.
But now I need to write myself!
❈ I’ve done a vague outline
The idea for what I’m writing about has changed since September, but I’m not going to say anything about what I want to write about. It’s too loosely formed to share. I’ve outlined what I think the story will be, although I’m not too attached to this. It might well change as I start to write, as I want to write “carelessly and recklessly” with “microscopic truthfulness” as Brenda Ueland recommends. She also recommends writing first and planning afterwards, simply writing what comes next and not worrying about the whole. The point of NaNoWriMo, after all, is to send our “inner critic” on vacation for a month and to just write the draft of the story.
❈ Continued writing, against prompts
I’ve been writing my Morning Pages every morning and sometimes writing against a prompt to stir the creative juices.
And I don’t know if I’m crazy, but I’ve signed up for a month of prompts from Michelle Chalfant (The Adult Chair). I listen to her podcasts and do some of her meditations on Insight Timer. As I’m writing about a year of my life, some of the prompts might help me get in touch with parts of my story that I’ve forgotten and I find when I free-write against a prompt, this often happens.
❈ Came up with A Danbo theme for my 365 project in November
As you can imagine, my photography project has suffered this month. There is only so much time in the day! I used some of my Danbo photos in some posts recently and it gave me the idea to use him for a theme next month. If it goes as planned, he will appear in a daily shot along with my total word count for that day. That way, I can document my progress and do a daily photo at the same time!
And a little overwhelmed.
I’m off to do something not connected to writing!
Like mindlessly watching series…
Have you done or are you doing NaNoWriMo? Have you read any of the books I mention? What were your thoughts?