I’m Cheating on NANOWRIMO + Writing Resources To Help You Pants or Plot

This week, in honor of National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO), the Debs are talking about our feelings about external challenges, deadlines, writing contests and more.

shield-nano-blue-brown-rgb-hiresThere, I said it. I’m cheating on NANOWRIMO. But not cheating in the string-of-conscious, crazy scenario sort of way that many NANOWRIMOers pants their way through. My way of cheating is that I’m not starting a new novel. I’m working on an existing story. That said, I fully intend an attempt to churn out 50K words in November. Interestingly enough, NANOWRIMO has a “Rebel” badge for those of us who aren’t going to the traditional, new novel route. Woot! I’m officially a rebel! Truth be told, I’ve done a lot of work on my books using NANO over the years. Much of the writing and editing of my first novel took place during the month of November.

A couple of years back, when I was in the midst of the frustrating search for an agent, I began researching my second novel, THE SECRET CHEF. I’ve been writing it off and on for the last couple of years in between editing FEAST OF SORROW. But now that I’m nearly done with those edits, I know that I need to get THE SECRET CHEF draft done. Next year, my launch year, I won’t have much time to do so.

As a historical fiction writer, I have to be a plotter. The whole book is planned out, for the most part, and just like my first book, I’m estimating 30 chapters. I have 16 of them complete, so I’m over halfway, but just barely. If I can spit out 50K words in November, the draft will be nearly complete and then I can focus on edits, plus solicit input from my agent to prep it for send-off to my editor in hopes of scoring the second book deal.

I work best with deadlines. Hard deadlines imposed upon me by someone else. Much of my early college training was in journalism and I lived by the idea that a deadline is sacred. I’m not one to break one and in fact, I tend to do my best work under pressure. NANOWRIMO is a soft deadline, imposed upon myself, but it’s better than a personal goal in that others are working toward the same deadline. There is a sense of pressure, a need for completion and check-ins for word count. I’ll take it. Who’s with me?

If you are embarking upon NANOWRIMO this year, here are a few resources that I’ve found to be helpful:

Are you doing NANOWRIMO this year? Let me know in the comments!

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Crystal King is a writer, culinary enthusiast and social media expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and an obsession with the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught writing, creativity and social media at Grub Street and several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University. Crystal received her masters in critical and creative thinking from University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her husband and their two cats in the Boston area.

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One thought on “I’m Cheating on NANOWRIMO + Writing Resources To Help You Pants or Plot

  1. I love this, Crystal. That’s the same way I use NANOWRIMO. Make it a deadline, a goal and even if I’m not following “the rules” I’m still going for the 50,000 words on my WIP. Happy Writing!!

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