Redefining NaNoWrimo

Now that the NaNoWrimo2018 has officially arrived, it’s time to redefine its purpose. Traditionally, it’s supposed to be the time for writing your 50 K novel. To become part of NaNoWrimo, you would need to register on the website, announce your novel via social media, and start writing. There is a whole online system to help you track the progress (how many words you’ve written, how many left, etc). I participated in NaNoWrimo three years ago and successfully finished a 70 K draft of a novel. It’s still buried somewhere in my “manuscript drawer,” waiting to see the light of the day. Yet the experience itself was incredibly fun. I got to commit to something big and work through it despite other responsibilities. I made room for creativity.

However, writing a 50 K novel in one month may not be for everyone.

Each of us has an individual pace of work, and some may find such a challenge intimidating at best. Others believe in quantity over quality and would rather spend longer time producing a draft that would require fewer revisions down the road. Some may not be into writing at all. All of these cases are fine because at the end the day, it’s what works best for you that counts.

There are many more ways to spend the dreary month of November meaningfully. Perhaps, you’ve always wanted to write your novel, but aren’t sure you could finish the entire story in thirty days. You can still give it a try and see where it leads you. In the worst-case scenario, you just won’t meet the target word count, but will still have something to continue on after November. Or you might’ve already written a book in the past and would rather focus on polishing the existing draft than start something completely new.  I’ve done that the year after successfully completing my 70 K novel. I used write-ins and other gatherings to revise an existing manuscripts. Or you might want to do something completely different.

This year, I decided to relearn indexing. I’ve take courses in the field and participated in a volunteer project that involved creating an index for endangered archaeological sites in the Middle East. However, there’s so much more to learn. So picked a book without an index from my shelf and decided to create one. That way, I’ll be able to review the ins and outs of the indexing process and relearn the craft. In many ways, indexing is a lot like writing, for it requires prolonged practice, determination, and some room for messiness. The process of understanding the main concepts and creating a list of important terms in a book involves a lot of plotting, jotting down, and reshuffling–much like in traditional novel writing. My goal for this month is to finish the index and have it formatted correctly. My next goals will include learning about embedded indexing, legal indexing, and perhaps medical indexing as well. These skills might take a while to develop, but I’ll try to take it easy.  Maybe I’ll also get some writing done on the side.

Perhaps, you too have a goal in mind you’d like accomplish. Now is the right time to try!

Happy writing/indexing/whatever else you’re doing!

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