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NaNoWriMo: Let’s get to it.


This cover image is popping up everywhere. Social media is abuzz with excitement, fear, confidence, empathy, anxiety and all other emotions in between. First timers are wondering if they can rattle of 50 000 words in a month, something not many of them have ever considered let alone attempted, even on their own. Old timers are either swimming in a sea of doubt from failing the previous year(s) and either anticipate another “failure” or hope to push past their “failings” and win NaNo. Other’s who have been successful can’t wait to add another novel/draft to their collection of successes – perhaps even rebelling by completing previous works or rewriting them. Others are watching on with mild interest and zero participation. Regardless of which category you fall in, or whether you don’t fall into any of these, you cannot deny that NaNoWriMo is a palpable presence among the online writing community. For the next month, a large number of writers will be ink deep in their writing, and this worldwide phenomenon is amazing on almost every level.

NaNo and I

This is my fourth year doing NaNo. My first two novels were a bust and re-reading what I wrote fills me with both disgust and fatigue. Strong words I know, but perhaps one day I’ll have the nerve to go back and explore those failed ideas again. The concepts were great but execution was terrible. Last year’s novel, my Historical Fantasy based on an African tribe of mages was so much fun to write, well planned and was definitely the easiest 50K I’ve written. I finished on day 22 and spent the next 8 days faffing about, and also encouraging others to push towards their 50K. Sadly I haven’t touched that novel since the 23 November 2015, a day after I got to 50k. I guess the next step once I’ve learned to complete novels, is to get into editing. *sighs*

This year I feel less ready but still quite psyched. I’ve learnt that planning takes you further than pantsing can. With discovery writing/pantsing, you are more likely to hit a wall, losing morale as you realise you have no idea how to climb over it, or if you even want to climb over it. Planning sees that wall, creates ways to progress past it, and all the while you’re gaining morale and momentum because you know where you’re going; planning allows you to enjoy the journey and blissfully anticipate the end.

What I wish I could do for NaNo

There are a few things I wish I could do for NaNo. Maybe one day I’ll employ them but here’s my list:

Live Stream

There are a number of things one can live stream. A write-in so others can see what happens during one, and let them (viewers) feel included in the process. We have word sprints, competitions, fancy hat days and other fun activities while getting that word count running. I could live stream myself writing so you can watch my writing process, get a glimpse of the actual writing (and have an exclusive look at the first draft). I could live stream a planning session, or some other writing exercise you can join in. I already have a YouTube and account so it’s not impossible. Maybe one day.

Write 50k in one day

I once wrote 4000 words in about two hours. If I wrote from midnight to midnight, I could probably pull this off. Although I would have to be locked in a well ventilated room, with no disruptions whatsoever, while taking a coffee-redbull mixture intravenously, and having prepared ablution solutions well before hand. A bit extreme, probably kill me, but I’ll have a novel and that’s all that counts.

Host a Travelling Write-In Road Trip

I like people. I like being around people, especially like minded people. I like meeting new people too. I also happen to like travelling. Sometimes people live too far out to be part of a write-in, or don’t have the means. So myself and a select few will jump into a nice caravan and host write-ins along the week, with a big one on the weekend. Then we get to meet new writers, we get to travel, and we get to write. That would be amazing.

Write by the beach

I haven’t been to Cape Town or Durban as an adult. It would be amazing to drive up to one of these fine places, find a nice beach house, and spend all of November writing and taking customary long walks on the beach. Waking up to sunrises and drinking mojitos to sunsets. Ahhh.

With a couple of days left until NaNo, and most of us gearing up towards it, what are your plans between now and the 1 of November? Is there any thing you’ve always want to do during NaNo, I’d love to hear/read it.


About Nthato Morakabi

Nthato Morakabi is a South African published author. He has short stories appearing in both international and local anthologies, and has published his first book, Beneath the Wax, which opens his three-part novella series "Wax". He is an avid reader, blogger and writer.

19 responses »

  1. A live stream would be awesome – maybe next time? I’d like to do another “me writing in real time” post. They are fun and really keeps you typing!
    As for me I still want to finish my detailed outline and put a playlist/book soundtrack up on YouTube before 1 November. We’ll see how it goes!

    • I think the Live Stream is something we can do this year actually, but only if people would be comfortable being broadcast to whoever would want to watch.
      Yes I watched your “writing in real time” and it was interesting to watch for sure.
      Hope all goes well with your prep and your playlist/book soundtrack! See you at a write-in!

  2. I’ve never participated, mainly because it always falls in festival time here, but these ideas are so amazing Nthato! You’ve got to do some of them. And go back and release that novel man!

  3. A live stream would be so cool! I’ve been wanting to start a youtube channel for my blog and that would definitely be something I would love to do.
    I attempted to write 50k in one day before. I would love to try again (and actually accomplish it), but I would need to be able to say that I’m a “full-time writer” for my career. I wouldn’t have the time otherwise. When I did attempt it the first time, I wrote 10k and then said “screw it” and went to bed, lol.

    • Hahaha! I can understand that. It takes quite a lot of dedication and I think a fair amount of planning to sit through 50K!!
      You should totally start a YouTube channel, but it is quite a bit of work, and content that would make people actually want to watch. Probably my biggest fear for live streaming is lack of an audience.

      • YouTube is a rough business. Kris and I would love to put together a gaming channel for Double Jump, but it won’t be anytime soon. We’ve been slowly researching it like the equipment we need, legal stuff, etc.
        I want to start a channel for my writing blog because even though it would be a ton of work, it would be less work (I think) than putting together a gaming channel. And it would give me some experience with YouTube so when we decide to start the gaming channel, I’d know a little of what to do.

      • Well that sounds like a good plan actually. Learn the ropes through your writing blog YouTube channel. Well I’ll definitely visit once you have it up and running.
        And yep all the equipment is such an important factor. And time to not only shoot the video but edit it etc. It would definitely be worthwhile. I hope all goes well with it! You should totally do it!

      • Thank you! I hope to do it in the near future, but unfortunately money isn’t something I have to spare for YouTube equipment at the moment. And time… Between work, the two blogs, my own writing, and other stuff, it’d be hard to fit in shooting and editing videos. Someday soon, though. Someday.

  4. I’ve always wanted to collect all the badges! But you can’t be a Rebel and an Old School Wrimo at the same time, so that’s out. :/ I’m spending the rest of October planning, of course. I haven’t started yet and I’m starting to panic. I usually am a pantser too, but having a loose structure definitely does help, so I need to get started with that. Soon. Like right now.

    • Haha hey Nandini I understand what you mean, maybe they should separate Rebel badges and Old School badges so we can collect them all.
      Well we’re one day away from NaNo, hoping your planning went well so far. If not, you can still plan AND write during the month right 😉

      • Yes, yes. I always thought I could wing it, but I’m still apprehensive. No, I actually got sidetracked trying to finish up my November blog posts in advance. I shall get to it today. Hopefully.

  5. Hi! 🙂 I’m a new follower, and I really like your blog 🙂
    A live stream would be fantastic! 🙂 I would participate this year, too, and it would be my first year! I’m really excited but also a little bit overwhelmed by it all! 🙂

    • Hi Susy! Thanks for dropping by 🙂
      Maybe I will live stream or perhaps make a YouTube thing and put it up on the blog. We’ll see how it goes.
      It’s great to see new participants, it means more books! I’m excited with you and hope all goes well during NaNo! Happy writing 😉


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