November madness, NaNoWriMo, and the end of my first MFA semester.

Perhaps you’ve noticed my absence from the blogosphere this month (probably not). October was a fabulous month full of celebration and excitement and it wiped me out. November has been mad and a little more focused on my non-blog writing. In addition to the semester wrapping up–the last day of class for me is the 2nd of December so November is the last real month of school–there’s been a lot going on at work, holiday prep is in full swing, and it’s NaNoWriMo!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • I’ve added a few things to my MFA Definitions post.
  • I’m working on a potential new project that may turn out incredibly and may be a flop. Time will tell. I’ll talk more about it tomorrow.
  • I got several of my DIY Christmas gifts mostly done (it’s a Christmas miracle that I’ve started on a Christmas project in a timely, pre-Thanksgiving manner)!
  • I’ve learned several really valuable craft lessons in school. You can read about them here, and here. Learning means applying so I’ve written and revised a lot this month.
  • NaNoWriMo!!!

If you are a writer, you should at least know what NaNoWriMo is. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is such an incredible time of motivation, progress tracking, and support, should you choose to accept the mission. In a nutshell, it’s a month dedicated to writing with an end goal of producing a finished, novel length work–50,000 words. It averages out to 1,667 words a day, a daunting task that is surprisingly easy once you get in the groove. You can sign up for free and track your word count as well as the progress of other WriMos. It’s quite exciting and all for a good cause. The NaNoWriMo mission is to support writing around the world through a variety of programs including a young writers program:

Through all our programs, we work to empower and encourage writing and vibrant creativity around the world.

This is my third year participating, though I didn’t “win” (i.e. finish the 50K goal) last year. I’m ahead of schedule this year with the first book in a new series (that I started very roughly for last year’s WriMo) and part of the second or third. My goal is to exceed the 50K mark and finish a complete first draft the first book. Through NaNoWriMo, you can participate in “write ins” both physically, in coffee shops and at universities and libraries in your area, and digitally through their Twitter feed. I highly recommend participating. It feels a little overwhelming the first time you do it but it’s important to prioritize the things you love and hopefully, if you’re a writer, you love writing. I’m always surprised by how much momentum I gain in such a short span of time.

My NaNo Progress Chart
My NaNo Progress Chart

If you win NaNo, you get a lot of cool prizes and access to services for free or deeply discounted prices. In previous years these included editing services, Kirkus Reviews, book cover art, tee-shirts, writer’s organization and association memberships, etc. Plus, you get to tell people you wrote a novel/full-length manuscript in a month and then wait for them to pop their eyes back in their heads so they can see your smug, blasé expression. “No big deal. It’s just one thousand six hundred and sixty-seven words a day.”

If you’re a WriMo let’s be buddies, search for me on NaNoWriMo and add me as a buddy. My username is Faerl Marie.

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