NaNoWriMo Day 1: Ready, Set, NaNo


Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiRes William Tiernan's blog coverage of NaNoWriMo continues with the first official November installment! If you need to catch up on what's been covered so far, read Will's introductory post. Be sure to share your own experiences in the comments. You can also start more NaNoWriMo talk in our brand new forum!

College basketball's "Midnight Madness" has nothing on NaNoWriMo. The NCAA’s annual b-ball kickoff includes just a few hundred colleges. That’s peanuts compared to NaNoWriMo’s thousands of writers. Or is it tens of thousands? Or hundreds of thousands?  Whatever the number, a whole host of people starting a novel today is an inspiring proposition. It’s like Critical Mass, only with word processors instead of bicycles.

This weekend I got some advice from a NaNoWriMo vet: write what you know, stick to a schedule, eat lots of comfort food, and skip Thanksgiving. With these in mind, here’s an overview of my 2010 NaNo.

Title: The Obesity World Series

Genre: Young Adult - Fiction

Tagline: A girl and boy join forces to fight childhood obesity with their own version of the Little League World Series.

Writing implement: Lenovo ThinkPad

Writing space: Musty green couch.

Schedule: Monday—Friday, 10 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. – novel writing. Minimum word count: 1,500/day.   Saturdays, 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. – big picture revisions. Sundays – watch football/catch up on sleep.

NaNoEssentials Inspirational quote: Those who don’t try, never look foolish.

Motto: Fast and loose.

Essentials: Wizard writing hat; leftover Halloween candy (Reese’s this year); SunChips; notepad, pen and pencil, water; iPod.

Last night I had trouble concentrating on trick-or-treating with my daughter. My mind was locked in pre-NaNo mode. Then, at 12:01 a.m. this morning, I stuffed a Reese’s in my mouth, put the iPod on shuffle, and released my pent-up novel ideas. It was like a literary throw-up: a chunky mix of opening plots points and characters and dialogue exploded through my fingertips and splattered onto my computer screen. I didn’t bother to consult my outline; I just started typing. Two hours later I’d finished Chapter 1 – 1,983 words. I quickly looked it over and decided it wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever written and went to sleep happy. One day in and already ahead of schedule. If I can find a way to blow off Thanksgiving I just might make it this year.

But one day at a time, right?  How’s your Day 1 going? Tell us about your 2010 NaNo – overview, writing tool/space/schedule, inspiration, motto, and so on – and share your essentials for getting to the finish line.


WilliamSTiernan William Scott Tiernan will happily respond to “William” or “Scott” or “Tsung Chi” — and he enjoyed being called “Mr. T” by his former middle school students. He doesn’t enjoy being called “Hey, you!” by his 3-year-old daughter. He may be 0-1 on NaNo, but he’s written for
YourTango, The Laurel of Asheville, Western North Carolina Parent, and of course, WEbook. He’s seeking representation for his YA novel, Dornoch Walking.


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  1. Could not even imagine writing a whole novel in a month - couldn't imagine writing one at all.
    The book looks hilarious - are you posting your chapters anywhere?

  2. I also jumped a little ahead of the gun, and had my first chapter finished before midnight. This whole week has been devoted to assuring my family and friends that they WILL be ignored for the following 30 days, without exception.
    I have a pizza place on speed dial, a brand new box of Bandaids, the biggest bag of cat food the department store had, and enough Jolly Ranchers to assure my Dentist a nice retirement.
    Essentials: Folgers, Visine, Iggy and the Stooges

  3. @W&M Sounds like you're well prepared! The Bandaids are a great don't want any of those writing related injuries (paper cuts) getting in the way of your masterpiece.

  4. Do you actually follow the schedule? Requires some willpower, which I sadly lack. But I did manage to get around 600 words done today (I'm anything but consistent), so I'll probably end up doing 5000 words tomorrow or maybe 100, who knows.
    I am also following the suggestion of a fellow nanowrimo writer, reyo (who I had the pleasure of meeting during a meetup yesterday), and am using an excellent program (esp. for those writers that lack concentration like me) called textroom (look it up on sourceforge for those who are interested), which has an option of no backspace (flow control). That way I am forced to make changes the hard way, but manage to increase the word count at the same time. :D
    Very interesting story btw, hehe, sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck with it.

  5. @DC - I'm guessing most NaNoers post their work to NaNo site as they go. Me included.
    @WM - smart move being proactive about the family and friends ... very funny!
    @AJ - I too am not very consistent, which is why I made the schedule. Sort of like carving out time to exercise. So far so good, but it's only Day 2! Great "no backspace" option. Genius. I caught myself doing too much editing last night ... instead of forging ahead. Good luck to you.

  6. i started on november third, so im going to have a lot of catching up to do.. i'm already way behind schedule


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