JuNoWriMo

an anti-wednesday appeal

My cordial dislike of the phenomenon known as NaNoWriMo has been well documented. Its self-proclaimed goal of getting you to write at least 5ok not-really-very-polished words in a month smacks of a latent prescriptivism which I find unhelpful So you might expect me to react with incredulity at the notion that anyone would want to indulge in NaNoWriMo more than once a year.

That’s almost exactly what Shallee MacArthur isn’t doing. She’s started JuNoWriMo to write a NaNoWriMo-ish novel in June, and she’s invited anyone who wants. But there’s one important distinction. She explains:

For JuNoWriMo (June Novel Writing Month, of course!), you don’t have to pump out a 50,000 word novel in a month. Pick a writing goal–any writing goal— it can be that you want to write 1,000 words a day all month. Or that you want to spend 1 hour a day pounding out your revisions. Or that you dedicate at least a two hours a week to your writing. Whatever the goal is, we’ll support each other in it!

Now that’s something I can get excited about. None of this ‘We’re writing novels fast and you’re not.’ Just good, frank, collaborative fun.

In fact, I’d already set myself some tentative June goals (which would have utterly excluded me from NaNoWriMo, I might add). So the advent of JuNoWriMo is nothing short of serendipitous.

My goals are pretty straightforward:

  1. Write a chapter a day in a new project I’ve not told anyone about yet, and
  2. Write 1,ooo words a day in my novel length manuscript.

My handicap is that I will only be writing five days a week, since I have many other responsibilities and commitments and need to actively protect days off. If I miss a day writing, especially for goal 2, I’ll try to make up for it the next day. And, yes, I will revise as I go and revise the previous night’s work each day before I begin.

This is fairly realistic for how I work. And it lets me, first, work out the new project fairly swiftly, which is what it needs. And, second, it helps me actually complete my long manuscript, which is becoming a proverbial albatross around my neck. The ultimate goal is to have complete drafts of both works by the end of July (beta readers beware!), and spend August writing up a project which may or may not have everything to do with fairy tales and alchemy.

H/T to Jenna St. Hilaire for convincing me this was a good idea. I started this gig Monday, which is really when the summer began for me (the first week in June overlapped with the last week of May, so it does Not Count). If you’re interested, my achievements so far are listed below the jump. Otherwise, they’ll appear unobtrusively at the top of occasional blog posts.

Monday, 6/6: An auspicious date, really. If you think about it.

  1. Successfully wrote ch. 4.
  2. Wrote approx. 600 words. But since that contained a 150 word passage which I flatter myself is the single most terrifying I’ve ever written, I called it a night.

Tuesday, 7/6: Another fun date. (Yes, I write dates like a Brit.)

  1. Successfully wrote ch. 5.
  2. By that point, it was midnight and I was tired, so I called it quits with vague promises of 2,000 words the next day.

So, that’s me. What about you? Up for a bout of JuNoWriMo? Or are we all gone mad again?

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10 thoughts on “JuNoWriMo

  1. I guess I’m an old fashioned canine, but trying to “produce” to some quota, any quota, smacks of encouraging the current trend to vomit on the keyboard, pub it, and call it writing. Seems there’s way to much of that happening today.
    Sandy
    http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

  2. Hi Sandy, and welcome!

    I have to say I agree with you. What you’ve said above is precisely the reason I’ve never done NaNoWriMo proper, and why I tend to think it’s a bad idea–at least for serious professionals. For writing hobbyists (if there were more of those, the world would be happier) it might be OK, to have fun writing a novel without the blood, toil, tears, and sweat of actually writing a novel. But the ‘vomit on the keyboard’ approach is not for me.

    Which is, ironically, why I like JuNoWriMo. Unlike its more famous predecessor, you–the individual author–set your own goals. Which don’t have to be related to word count at all. One of my fellow JuNoWriMers is making a goal simply to write for an hour everyday–just self-discipline, that. I chose a loose word count because, after more than a decade in the business, I know what I can do and can’t. And the goal I’ve set is one I know I can reasonably attain, if I make the effort to put my behind in the chair and write. So saying ‘I’m doing JuNoWriMo’ is just a way to keep myself on target and erase excuses.

    So, yeah–NaNoWriMo is about quota, and doesn’t interest me. JuNoWriMo is about self-discipline, and heaven knows I need more of that.

    Does this help explain the project any better?

    (I love your gravatar, btw!)

  3. I hold that vomit on the keyboard can be revised, rewritten, edited, but that blank pages cannot be. Quotas like these–either the Nano or Juno versions, but preferably the Juno–can be great ways of slogging through what Jim Butcher calls the “Great Swampy Middle” of novel-length projects. I think that’s what I’ll do with my June–hammer out as much as possible of this big tangled loose-plot-threads-all-over-the-place monstrosity I call an ongoing novel, so that once it’s on the page I have something to work with.

  4. I participated in the very first LoCoWriMo (Local Conlang Writing Month — for writing full-length works in invented languages) a couple of years ago and managed to keep up my word count for reaching my 5000-word goal for several days, even exceeding it significantly several times. But then I stumbled a couple of days, got distracted and never have finished it. But I do have 5 full, single-spaced pages of original text in Carrajina about the War of the Two Queens which I would never had had otherwise. I may try to use this year’s LoCoWriMo to finish that piece, and if I finish early (which I should) use the remainder to either edit the text or to translate it into English, or both.

    Oh, did I not mention how weird I am?

  5. “And bring some paper towels. Eww. And some tweezers. I think I see a Fluffy Puff Nibblin in there.”

    Strong Bad, discovering the horrors of “Thcleaning up your own puke off the keyboard”

  6. Chris–to each his own, I think. Vomit on the keyboard certainly can be rewritten (see Eric’s comment), though the accompanying ick factor may not always be worth it. I actually work from a blank page myself; almost always, on my best days I sit staring vacantly at nothing much whilst roiling round a scene in my head before every writing anything down. I’m sure Dr Jung would have much to say about this, but there you go. Agreed about the Great Swampy Middle, and thus the immense helpfulness (so far!) of a JuNo.

    Adam… I think you just did… 😉

  7. Mr. Pond said, “Write a chapter a day in a new project I’ve not told anyone about yet…”

    But, by definition, doesn’t this mean you’ve told us something about the new project, the fact that you haven’t told anybody about it yet? 😉

  8. Yay, you joined up! Congratulations. 🙂

    Considering that I threw out probably 60,000 words (in at least two separate drafts) of last year’s NaNoWriMo, I’m liking this JuNo bit and my incredibly-difficult-to-fulfill time goal. Of course, NaNo still gave me my first complete novel in over a decade, and it turned out quite well, so I’ve got a soft spot for the old November word fling. But still. JuNo rocks.

  9. Welcome to JuNoWriMo! I’m glad you like the idea. 🙂 I’ve loved having the support of other goal-setters. I did set a word count goal, which I was determined I would never do. I did some major plotting beforehand, though, because I was terrified of just pumping out crap for a month. This helped immensely, and I’ve found that I’m pumping out a decent first draft and a pretty good pace. So far, it’s helped me re-develop the habit of BIC for a few hours a day!

    Thanks for joining, and good luck with your goal!

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