Fact: we have just 1/6 of 2016 left!
And the first of November marks (A) the anniversary of two very good friends of my spouse, and (B) the beginning of NaNoWriMo ("Na-No-Ri-Moe"). For the uninitiated: Na(tional) No(vel) Wri(ting) Mo(nth) is a tradition especially among indie authors, in which we challenge ourselves and each other to commit to writing a novel in the month of November. Or a book of poems, a collection of short stories, a stage/screenplay, etc.
What is the etiology of NaNoWriMo? www.NaNoWriMo.org launched in 1999 (and became a non-profit 501(c)(3) in 2005). Its mission statement declares that "your story matters", and people obviously believe in it--over 200,000 participants wrote over 2.8 billion words in 2010. Each participant is encouraged to register with the website for the challenge of writing 50k words during the month of November (which is just under my monthly average during spring and summer months). Not only does #NaNoWriMo provide a community space to support authors during the month, but it has created a sense of social community among writers of all genres--important, given the act of writing is usually a solitary one.
And until researching for this announcement, I had no idea it was backed by an organization. See, kids: advertising is hard.
Why is NaNoWriMo important? A sense of community, peer-support, etc. As someone prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder, October and November tend to mark the downward spiral--winter, holidays, a lot of social functions for a group of people who tend toward introversion. Ex: In July and August, I wrote ~60k words per month. In October, about half that.
I just finished an alpha draft, Sun, Oct 30, for YMM02. As per my ritual, I did not write yesterday. Through the entire month, I've been plagued with the lethargy and dysthymia that accompanies the onset of fall, and therefore, SAD. For those like me, it is especially important to cling to our community, our supports, and our rituals to keep our writing moving forward. To reiterate my traditional advice for NaNoWriMo:
(I) State your NaNoWriMo goals clearly and explicitly. Make them quantitative if at all possible, and be realistic. "I will write my fantasy epic" is not a realistic goal if your best monthly average is only 60k words/month. "I will work on my self-promotion" is not quantitative, nor clear. Consider instead: "I will enroll in the free Google Ads program to get 250 free click ads;" or "I will create a social media post about my works every day this month."
(II) Expose yourself to bright lights, fresh air, and people. All of these activities are good for the health and the spirit. Drink tea (as the Japanese do, for your health) or your favorite winter-time beverage, but avoid alcohol and other depressants (e.g. massive turkey legs) in the time before you write. Continue exercising, and keep your body and mind sharp.
(III) If you're the kind of person who *needs* to have results to show to someone else by the end of the challenge, knock 20% off the top of your goals (I). Realize that NaNoWriMo is not meant to be a "fly or fail" challenge; it's to help us stay on top of our writing goals through the brutality of winter.
(IV) Realize that you will get practically nothing done in December. Plan accordingly for Nov and Jan.
* DMCD01 Alpha draft
* Three game reviews for "Jessi's Mega Late Game Reviews"
* Edit YMM01 so I can send the Beta 01 draft to my editors