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The Friday Five - It's Almost Time for NaNo Edition

Tomorrow is the first of October. Which means one big thing, dear writers or readers of blogs.

It is exactly one month until NaNoWriMo begins.

As you may or may not know, it wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit if a voice spoke from the heavens and said, "Go to bed the entire month of November. You will wake up well-rested and at peace with the world on the first of December."

I hate November.

But it certainly does have its writing advantages. Millions, yes, millions of people all over the globe will be BICHOK on November 1. They gather on one website like excited children to rejoice in their successes, moan about their failures, laugh at the antics of their characters or weep over repetitive motion injuries. November is the writing warrior's battle and the fields are being prepared right now. As a seasoned veteran myself (this will be year three of manic, fast-paced writing), I am honing my tools for the next campaign to take the noveling world by storm.  So. Five things I love about NaNo.

#1) It took me how long to write 50,000 words?
Yeah, that's right. A month. 30 days. Here is an illustration of my stats for last year. It looks like I didn't write a couple of those days, especially toward the end of the month, but I really did, I just didn't update the site, I was so frantic to finish. At the very top, you see the purple bar and it's happy message proclaiming me a 'winner!' At least I'm a winner somewhere in my life, right? At the first part of the month, no joke, from pretty much the 1st to the 10th or so, I was sick as a dog. Did I feel like writing 1667 (the average amount you have to write to finish in 30 days) words a day? Pfft, no! Did I feel like laying down to die in a hailstorm of misery and snot? Yes. But I didn't. You can read the entry I made when I finished two days ahead of schedule here.

#2)  Pep talks. I love getting the pep talks in my e-mail from guest pep talkers through the Office of Letters and Light on the NaNo site. One time it was Lemony Snicket and it was hi-lariously perilous. I didn't save any of them, but for some reason I did save the letters from the municipal liason (you know, the guy or gal in charge of the local NaNo organization). Note to self: chuck those, they are unrelated to this year. Fortunately, the pep talks are archived on the NaNo site. The Lemony Snicket one is here.

#3) That picture above. The chart. Oooo, I love the chart. Sure, I have those fancy little counter doo-dads here, but that chart marks the progress per day. And it has some cool stats underneath like average per day, when I will finish based on my apd, how many days are left, etc. I wish I had a chart like that for all the time. I'm a very visual person, which is kind of weird considering I can't actually see my characters.

#4) Message boards. The NaNo site has some great message boards where you can ask questions related to your story, swap plot bunnies, put up a section of your favorite paragraphs, do synopsis swaps, or just hang out and procrastinate.

#5) The experience. It's worse, oh yes, worse than prepping for college finals. If you're hard core, you will stay up late, consume more junk food and carbonated/caffeinated beverages than could ever possibly be good for you (trust me, I know), and you might even skip work once or twice to stay on top of your game. In my defense, I was actually sick that one Monday. I did go to the doctor. The second week is reputedly the hardest (I find this to be true) and you may consider quitting. Plunge through it, fight like mad, come up a winner. You know, so you can get that awesome web badge. And carpel tunnel.