WHY do you NaNo?
We've all introduced ourselves, touched on how many years we've done NaNo, but no one's really mentioned their whys. Is this the only time you manage to set aside for yourself to write? Do you just love the concept of the whole thing and want to support it as much as possible? Why, friends, do you do NaNo?
I learned about NaNo in '03, and was in a really rough space at the time. I'd had to quit college, and was trying to work on getting back (still trying, sadly) and had gotten really into writing again when someone told me about NaNo. I tried my hand at it, and it didn't work out thanks to life getting in the way, and a lack of drive, but it gave me more of a push to do something I really enjoyed. I've floated in and out since, but still talk about it every chance I get. I love the idea of people around the world working at the same time, trying to get to their individual goal, but doing it TOGETHER, having others to complain to, or to help support them when they think they're not going to make it. It's just a great thing, and even when I don't commit to writing that year, I'm still talking it up because it's just a cool idea.
That's me. How about you?
I've known about it for a while, but finally got around to it in 2010, at the same time as I was working on comprehensive exams for my Master's... not exactly the best timing, and it was kind of driving me up the wall, so I had to forfeit (I totally would've won, though - I had about 42k finished before I had to give up, with a week to go).
2011, I came back, finished, and won, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. But I also like the community that crops up - it's fun to get a bunch of new and familiar faces together, and bond over the wordcount goals, and the hopes of being a writer.
I'm back again more because of the community; I'm a consistent writer, and putting my butt in a seat and getting pages out isn't a problem for me. I love the excitement and the communal moments of victory, and knowing that there are other people out there doing the same thing I'm trying to do.
oh 4thAce...I feel you!
Why do I do it? Because I'm a masochist ;-) lol Seriously, because it helps me shove aside that inner critic and just go for it. The first time I did it, I felt so freed, it was a great jump start to my writing. I'm in such a writing funk now that I'm a little nervous this year, but I'm gonna do it anyway!
I first found out about NaNo in '06/ I had just graduated high school that June, wasn't going to college, didn't have a job and was just pretty much stuck at home all day feeling really down about myself when I saw some people posting about it on my LiveJournal friends list. At first I wasn't sure, I didn't have an idea (and I'm one of those people who HAS to have some sort of idea before I write), and then about three or so hours until November 1st, I got a basic plot idea, named a few characters, gave them jobs, basic descriptions (all of which fit very nicely on one sheet of computer paper even in my ridiculously rushed scribbling) and then waited for midnight because, seriously, what did I have to lose?
My life was in pretty much the same place my second and third year, and it not only gave me something to do but I also loved doing it. The fourth year I had finally gotten a job just a couple months before so I was a bit worried about that change but I did it again because it was fun and otherwise my life hadn't changed. Last year, I did it because, well, I needed the stability and comfort of it and, heck, if I didn't do it, I'd have been missing out on winning 5 consecutive years!
This year it's for the stability and comfort again and I'm hoping for it to bring some more fun in my life again cause I haven't really had any in a few months.
TL;DR version: It's fun and it's now tradition!
I put off answering this because my answer is long but then snowfalkie's answer was long and I was like, ha!, now I can be long too!
I originally got into NaNoWriMo in 2002 because I used to work for Lulu.com (who used to do the free winner copies for many years before CreateSpace took that over) and they encouraged us to do it so we'd know what people were talking about when they wrote in with questions. I think I wrote like 5,000 words, it was pathetic. I then attempted NaNo every year after that but didn't really "get it" until 2007 when I won for the first time and really understood just how much work I really needed to invest to make it happen.
As for why I NaNo to this day, I'm a career writer and I write all the time but I never, ever get more writing done during the year than I do during NaNoWriMo. So my reasons are twofold. Firstly, on a selfish level, NaNoWriMo helps me get much more done than I can on my own because of the crazy community.
But, secondly, I really credit this event with many of the successes I've had and for teaching me more about writing than anything I've done and, not to sound like a cheesy dork, but I really wanted to share that. Which is why I got involved as an ML because I really wanted to help other people who may be afraid or otherwise wary of taking on this challenge to give it a try because it was truly life changing.
Brian, Congrats on the finish last year! I love the community of it, too. Super fun. Rich, that's probably one of the best ways of putting it. :) Claire, welcome back! Snow, isn't tradition awesome!
I love that we all come in for different reasons, but we all come together to wind up with a similar goal: write ourselves a novel!
Got into writing fanfiction early last year, switched to realistic original fiction late Spring, started a post-apocalyptic story early summer, decided to take the next logical step and NaNo.
As Tony Stark once said, "Sometimes you have to run before you walk."
Congrats on switching from fanfiction to your own fiction, and welcome to the Funvee!
(there is no Humdrumvee, fair warning)
I always wanted to write - and had numerous ideas. I just never followed through. Also, I'd get self conscious every time I wrote. Teachers, family, and friends all criticized that I was either too dark or this and that. Therefore, a lot of times I just felt stifled and lost my drive to. I never wanted to write for anything but for myself but a lot of people would take the fun out of it for me.
Now that I'm an adult, I thought to hell with them. I may not fit into that mold of happy and cheery all the time. I heard about NaNo and thought it was a great way for me to just close my eyes and let go rather than worry about what people might say or think since I don't have to show anyone.
I also just want to see if I can write a whole novel - tick it off my bucket list.
After this, I guess I'm going to jump out of a plane and go sky diving. Or go swimming with sharks. Hah.
I just found out about NaNoWriMo this year through Gotham Writers Workshop newsletter. I do write, but not continuously. This forces me too, and I am extremely happy about that. I really want to finish this novel idea I have (I've started but I will scrap it, I ain't no cheater). Why not prove to myself I can start and finish something?
I took a class with Gothman (online) last summer. I really liked it and would have done it again this year were this not the year from hell.
I took playwriting because I wanted to workshop my two adult plays. What did you take? I'm trying to decide what to take next. :-)
I actually just went to a free class which was great. I am unemployed, so as much as I would love to take one, or more, of their classes I will have to wait.
The one I took talked about creating an interesting plot. The one tip I always use now when thinking about writing is, is there a gap? The gap, though, if you don't already know isn't blank space; it is something that keeps the reader wanting more; like a wait and see effect. I like doing that now.
Yeah... their classes are much more expensive than I'd like. One good thing is that, if you take the 100 level of anything, they offer you a very large discount to take the 200 level the next semester. If you have the time to do the classes back to back, it's a cost effective way to do it. They also offer a discount if you take two classes in one semester but I'm really glad I didn't attempt that because it was much more work than I expected and two classes plus a full time job would have been a mess.
i do nanowrimo simply for the camaraderie. i love knowing that there are tons of us trying to write out the words that are inside us.
and now i do it for my students! they are a huge push to just get it done. i lost my first year ('07), won in '08 and could not win after that. until last year, when i introduced our district to it. my students inspired me to finish my novel, as they wrote their own. and now i run the nanowrimo club, and have been looking forward to doing it again this year :)
Hrm...I learned about NaNo mid-way through November of 2006, when I heard some people talking about it online. Signed up, and worked my butt off to win my first year with only half a month remaining (which also might be why I tend to finish within 15 days).
At first, I did NaNo for the challenge of writing 50k. Then, after a couple years of hitting the goal easily, it became a way to challenge myself and see how far I can go, and how much I've improved in a year or if my writing style has changed any. It also became a way for me to meet people and make friends (a couple of my best friends, I met through NaNo).
It was easy for me to write a fanfiction story and go beyond the goal, so I started to try and challenge myself (when possible) on original stories, and find my genre niche...find where I was good at for writing something original that I could get published (which has been one of my dreams since I was around 7 years old). I tried fantasy, had a dystopia idea...but then, I tried my hand at mystery, and capped off just short of 200k words. It was also much easier to write, so I knew I'd found my genre.
Now that I've found my genre, and still enjoy making friends and meeting people through NaNo (cause it's easier for me to talk and express myself through written text than spoken words), I NaNo now to get myself to finish projects that I want to make something of.
The novel I'm writing now, I hope to get back into the publishing rat race with, and I'm working on a Visual Novel series that I want to earn money off of as well, with NaNo as my guide;
It's now a motivator of "can I finish it before November is over" sort of thing, and still turn out something of high quality no matter what my hyperfocus happens to be that month.
I write technical articles for an IBM Systems magazine once in a while. One of the editors asked if anyone would write a nano novel featuring the IBM systems. I didn't have the time to write a novel, but I wrote a short story 'Origin of Servers' which was really well received by user community of the magazine. It was a lot of fun so I decided to do Nano the following year.
I even joined a writers group afterwards, and I really do enjoy the write-ins and socials.
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