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Not Too Late To Get In The NaNoWriMo Game

By Betsy Mikel in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 14, 2011 5:00PM

111411_nanowrimo.jpg It’s just about the middle of November, which means thousands of writers worldwide are nearly halfway through a ridiculous and admirable pursuit. National Novel Writing Month — or NaNoWriMo to get it all into one breath — is an annual month-long challenge during which writers attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The emphasis is quantity over quality, to simply get the words out and onto the screen instead of nitpicking sentence structure or mulling over plot points.

If you’re already signed up for NaNoWriMo, hopefully you’re going strong to finish on schedule. If you still want to join the effort, it’s not too late. There’s still plenty of time left to write those 50,000 words, and if you’re unemployed or underemployed, well lucky you; you have even more time to write. But remember, you have to begin your novel from the very start, and dusting off an unfinished novel and picking up where you left off is kinda cheating. You won’t get disqualified or anything, but you’d probably feel super guilty for being a cheater.

Here are some resources to help you along your 50,000 words:

  • NaNoWriMo Walk Through Handout: You can’t very well write a novel without an idea of what you’re going to write. You might need to hash out your characters and their relationships, a theme, problems, locations, and other such stuff.
  • NaNoWriMo FAQ: Have questions? Someone else probably had the same one. Visit the NaNoWriMo FAQ to find the answers, including NaNoWriMo basics and how to manage your user account and make best use of the site. ChiWriMo also has an FAQ.
  • Chicago NaNoWriMo forum: On this regional forum, you’ll find updates about changes to events and write-ins and can connect with other local writers. You might even be able to organize a write-in with a neighbor.
  • ChiWriMo Write-Ins: The ChiWriMo Chapter has a public calendar jammed with Write-Ins if you’re looking for fellow NaNoWriMoers in your area. Since it’s all about the words and not so much about the socializing, really all Write-Ins should serve the same purpose, but here are a few of our top picks:
    • Oakton Community College Write-In and Workshop: After the one-hour workshop, Lori Oster will lead a 30-minute workshop to discuss common Week 3 challenges and share tips for thriving the week. Thursday, Nov. 17, 12:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
    • StoryStudio Write-a-Thon: Bring your laptop for a full day of writing at the StoryStudio writing space. $12 gets you unlimited coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks, writerly conversation and lots of encouragement. Saturday, Nov. 19, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
    • Write-Ins in your neighborhood: Wicker Park, River North, Hyde Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, the Loop, the South Side, and Lincoln Park all have write-ins happening throughout the month, as do many suburban communities. Check the calendar for more info. Naperville even has its own NaperWriMo chapter.
    • ChiWriMo Online Write-Ins: If you can’t make it to one of the in-person write-ins, the Sunday night online write-ins can help you connect with other Wrimos and bump up that word count. Plus, you can drink whatever you want! Head to the ChiWriMo chat room from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. every Sunday night until the end of the month.
  • Freedom for Mac or PC: “Writing is 3% talent and 97% not getting distracted by the Internet,” said someone on the Internet. Vowing to not look at the Internet or turning off the wifi never seems to do the trick. This Internet-blocking software will prevent you from accessing the Internet for however long you tell it to, guaranteeing amazing productivity and words written. Download the free trial for five uses or pay $10 for unlimited restriction from writing’s biggest distraction.