NaNo article [ 2006-09-12, 12:06 a.m. ]

As with every September 11th since 2001, I've been watching all the different shows on the History channel etc.. that chronicle that day. I didn't think I'd still be doing that 5 years later but I do. It's kind of like that day where I didn't want to leave the tv because I needed to feel connected.

Anyway, today was also spent sleeping. I don't know why but I spent most of it asleep. But I did wake up eventually, had some dinner, watched Prison Break and then made myself write my second article for Amps11, this one about NaNoWriMo. Here it is for anyone interested:

Last November I wrote a 50,000-word novel just for the hell of it. No reward. No publishing deal. Just that satisfaction of completing something that most people only think about doing. In addition, I did this in one month while working in management at a large retail store during the holiday season. Crazy? Probably so but that joy of finishing (a half hour before the deadline of midnight on November 30) was worth all the sweat, upset stomachs and agony. Writing the final 11,000 words in 2.5 days almost did me in but I kept as inspiration the cd of Poe’s Haunted and anything by Radiohead to help me with my modern-day ghost story.

Music plays a big part in inspiring participants of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. Started by Chris Baty in July 1999 in the San Francisco Bay area as just a tool to push novelists toward writing and a chance to socialize with other writers, NaNoWriMo started with 21 people. In the second year, a friend of Baty’s came up with the website, and moved to November to take full advantage of the usual gloomy weather. Last year NaNoWriMo had 59,000 participants. Of those, 9769 finished on time. That number seems small but it is not just the completion of the novel that gives satisfaction. It is also the general camaraderie of the writers on the forum.

Chris Baty has also written a book entitled No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High Velocity Guide To Writing A Novel In 30 Days. He shares some of the background of NaNo and tips on pushing past writer’s block, which plagues every participant. Also, he advises setting daily writing goals so you do not get behind, which is what happened with me.

There is one forum devoted just to music for writers. One writer has started a thread just for suggestions to “soundrackify” their novel. Others have asked for suggestions for setting a scene or share thoughts for playlist inspiration for different genres. There are also character theme songs and title theme songs. Mine was taken directly from Poe since Haunted is also the title of my novel.

This year I have been thinking about what to write for NaNoWriMo ever since May. Even though it is still more than a month away at this writing, I was becoming a bit anxious. Finally, inspiration arrived in the form of the music that I loved back in the late ‘80’s. This is where I will set my novel set to a soundtrack by REM, the Cure, the Smiths, Violent Femmes, the Ramones and INXS. That is pretty much of what will be on the playlist on my iTunes for music to write by. I think everyone should try NaNoWriMo at least once. Last year was my second time trying it. The first I only got to maybe 3,000 words. I do not know what changed with last year but I will never forget it.

Tomorrow my big plans are to go buy the second season dvds for The Office and then most likely watch all of them. I would also like to take my car to the mechanic so we'll see what happens there.

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Ryan Adams