I’m going to try my hand again this year at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those who aren’t familiar, it’s where you spend the month of November trying to write a 50,000 word novel (and no cheating by using something you started writing at an earlier date). It starts at midnight November 1st and ends at midnight November 30th.
National Novel Writing Month starts at midnight October 31st and runs through November.
As is my usual style, I’ll be honest here and tell you I haven’t finished in my previous two attempts. In my defense, the first year I didn’t find out about it until after November 1st and started off the several thousand words off the pace needed to finish on time. Last year I was working for an organization that had their biggest event of the year in late November, there wasn’t much time for eating or sleeping and writing was luxury.
Instead, my goal each year has been to use the month to form better writing habits. To do things like carve an hour out of each day to write without interruptions. To get better at focusing when I do write so I can make the most of my time. Figuring what if tight outlines or free-flow works best (a kind of combination, thanks for asking). It’s really been a great chance to get to know me as a writer. Sure, I’d love to make 50,000 words, but I also know I have enough major stressors in my life that block the flow if ideas to let one of the things that let me relax become a major source of stress.
But this year is a little different. I finally have some freelance work coming up, but I’m not working full-time for an organization going full throttle towards the end of the month. I usually have at least a couple of hours to myself each day. I’m not saying it’s a sure thing, but things certainly look a lot better for success than they did last year!
I realize I’ve been MIA, my apologies. I was using every spare moment to work on this years attempt for National Novel Writing Month. The final results? I ran head-on with real life in the middle of the month and was unable to write for more than a few minutes for days at a time. I fell short of the 50,000 word goal, but I did more than double the total words I wrote last year! I also like this year’s results 100 times more than what I wrote last year, which I think is even better.
I’m going to keep working on what I’ve written. I’ve really enjoyed having these sort of organized bursts of creativity. It’s so easy to get focus on the day-to-day creative things you need for telling stories for a living that you forget how important it is to stretch yourself. You forget how amazing it feels to push yourself and leave your comfort zone.
To me that’s the most important part of NaNoWritMo – to help people who want a chance to let their creative flag fly a reason and focus to push themselves. To give us a little push, motivation and support to attempt something we wouldn’t think of otherwise.
So what about you? How did your attempt go this year?
There are lots of great reasons to tell your story on Tuesday, which just happens to be today. Here are the five most popular as voted on by our most active participant – ME!
It’s a great way to practice your craft(writing not witch, but that’s cool too) – Taking part is Tell Your Story Tuesdays is a chance to practice your writing in a low key and supportive environment. I haven’t received any negative comments on anything written so far! (Of course I don’t get many comments, and most of those are spam, but they’re all very polite!)
So you can tell friends and family(who keep ask why you write a blog very few people read)that you’re a guest blogger on another site – Everyone has someone (a frienemy, a buddy from work, a mother-in-law) who asks what you’re writing about on that blog of yours and why don’t you have any followers. Here’s your chance to tell them that someone asked you to share your wisdom on their blog, a major step for any blogger!
You don’t need to change the names to protect the innocent – Since you’re the only one who knows you wrote it your secret is safe with me! What happens on Lorie’s Lens stays on Lorie’s Lens. *
To bring joy to others – I know I would enjoy it if you shared a story. Not that I’m begging, just saying it would be nice. Ok, I’m begging a little…PLEASE share a story with me!
Your reason here – tell me a story and I’ll let you choose the 5th reason why you should tell your story. Consider it your bonus for taking part in this worth while endeavor. *Not applicable when actual cameras are involved
So what are you waiting for, the rules? Oh yeah, those can be found here. I’ve given you some great reasons, so tell me a story!
Over the last few days I’ve been reminded again how important it is to write for your audience and your medium. We’ve all heard about writing for the intended audience (you don’t write at a college level when your audience is 4th graders) and how important it is to make sure the audience will understand what you’re trying to say. If we’re lucky we’ve even had a little time to study the audience and understand them. The final product has a better chance of being accepted when we know the audience and write for them.
A lot of people forget about the importance of writing to the medium as well. In my experience a lot of people forget that there is a difference between the way you should write for a text-book, a presentation, a website and video. The delivery method has a huge impact on the way information is received, so it should influence the content itself. For example, how do you think a video would be received when the script sounds like it’s been directly lifted from a text-book? Would a presentation have the same feeling as an article on a web? If you want to be successful the answer should be no.
I’ve worked in video, marketing and instructional design. I’ve written for everything from TV promos to kiosks to instructor guides. Trust me, if you want to hold people’s interest and make your point you need to think about how your message is being delivered. If what you delivered will be read aloud, then you need to read it out-loud. You need to hear the way the words sound together and make sure it’s easy to listen to, and just as importantly, that it can be easily read. If the words are awkward or hard to say the person you are trying to communicate with will have a hard time receiving the message. I have had the opportunity to rewrite a number of scripts so that look good on paper, but when you read them out loud it is a whole different story. (As a side note, scripts that have been proofread and approved by lawyers is often difficult to read out-loud and to hear).
Take my advice, and save yourself a lot of trouble, add delivery medium to the list of things you think about before you start to write. Your audience will thank you for it.