NaNoWriMo... Go!

By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 01, 2010 At 1:57 PM

Last night I attended my first ever kickoff party for NaNoWriMo.  They have always been held at people's houses in the past, so I've never gone before.  It seems I may not have been the only one who felt that way, because holding the kickoff at an all-night coffee shop and used bookstore resulted in an unexpectedly large showing.  According to the MLs' "Play Doh count" (they passed out tiny cans of Play Doh to everyone), there were 64 people there by midnight!

I meant to take pictures of the kickoff party so that you could see how many people there were, but suffice it to say that there wasn't enough seating for everyone.  People brought pillows and blankets and camped out on the floor against the bookshelves.  The coffee shop owners (who knew in advance that we were going to take over the store for the night, and actually welcomed it) also brought in some extra chairs.  People were everywhere.  It was fun to watch the non-NaNo folks walk through the door, look at the crowded bookstore in confusion, and then after a few moments, uncertainly walk back out again.

The bookstore was pretty noisy until midnight, and then suddenly you could have heard a pin drop as everyone got started writing.  Around 1:00am, a lot of people cleared out, and then again around 2:00; and by 2:30, when I left, there was only a handful of people that remained behind.

This year I am using NaNoWriMo to finish last year's novel.  I know, I know — that's cheating.  But I am only counting new word count, so it won't give me a head start or anything.  However, that did mean that before I could start writing last night, I had to finish reading last year's work so I could get up to speed on where I was.  Because I found myself unable to read and take notes effectively with the noise of the pre-midnight party, it wasn't until about an hour into NaNo that I finally got started writing.

It ended up being a good start to the month, though.  As of 2:30, I had 989 words.  That's more than half of what I need for the first day (1,667), and if I can add a couple thousand this evening, that will allow me a comfortable lead.

I'll update here as the month goes on, of course, but you can also find my profile here.  (If it doesn't work for a few days, don't be surprised — the site is a bit overloaded right now.)  I'll also update my sidebar with a word count widget (hopefully the calendar one, if it works this year), and a participant badge with a link to my profile.

I'd love to hear from others who are doing NaNoWriMo this year.  Did you attend a kickoff party, or did you start writing right at midnight?  Is your word count off to a good start?

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Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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