When Tricia asked me if I wanted to write a post for her blog about NaNoWriMo, I thought “what would I possibly have to say?” Apparently, a LOT. The more I thought about NaNo, the more I realized I owe that event (and Camp NaNoWriMo…but more on that later) so much. I took a look at my author dashboard and believe it or not, I’ve been a member for four years. I was shocked! Of those years, I only “won” once, but of the books I worked on, two are published and another will be. Not bad.
So, what does NaNo (and Camp NaNo) offer? Community…support…inspiration…and most importantly, accountability. I took my first baby steps into the author community through my regional group on NaNo. I shyly dragged my laptop to the local Barnes & Noble for a write-in. I chatted with folks in the NaNo message boards. Now that I’ve established a solid network through author events and conferences, I have quite a few writing buddies and friends on NaNo. Writing can be such a solitary thing, and it’s good to have a sense of community—people who’ll support you and cheer you on. Or hold your feet to the fire. Feel free to look me up on NaNo. My handle is phernandez.
The absolute best thing NaNo does, though, is make you as an author accountable. That book WILL NOT write itself, people. Fingers on the keyboards, friends. It doesn’t matter that the first draft sucks. You can work with that. What you CAN’T do is edit a blank page. 50,000 words is a decent novel. Mine range from 60-75,000. So, by the end of November, I have a good start on a solid manuscript. Not bad.
This November, I decided that insanity, never going out, and no sleep would be awesome experiences. What that means is I’m simultaneously working on three projects. Yeah, I’m stupid. My official NaNo novel is the second book in my Whitewood Journals Series. The Whitewood Journals is a YA paranormal about Ellie Whitewood, who inherits a mansion in the middle of a secluded forest. She discovers that not only do the gargoyles come to life, but that she’s a member of an ancient line of women—Caretakers—who with their gargoyles protect the world from demons. My second…and unofficial…project is working with my editor to finish up the second book in my Earthborn Series, a YA science fiction novel called Verseborn. Addy Becker has to save her father from certain death on his home planet, but there are people back “home” who have other plans for her. My third…and final, oh my goodness, kill me now project…is Dark and Bright, a YA science fiction novel. I’m working on final edits before sending it to my editor. It’s about Carrie Franx, a girl who is secluded in her mountain home. But is it for her safety…or ours?
For those of you who are true gluttons for punishment, NaNo also runs Camp NaNoWriMo during the summer. The cool thing about that event is you can create your own “cabin” of fellow writers. I’ve participated in that for at least two years and it’s great to have the chance to create your own cozy club to encourage and inspire each other. There are also programs for young writers in both NaNo and Camp NaNo. If you’d like to do your own version of NaNo, there’s a great website—created by NaNoers—for tracking your writing projects and word count. It’s called Pacemaker and you can find it at https://pacemaker.press. Now, get creating!
If you’d like to learn more about me or my books, you can visit www.pmhernandez.com. And thanks to Tricia for having me on her blog!