NaNoWriMo Part One

I’m doing NaNoWriMo – National Novel-Writing Month – this year. My main motivation is that the writing group of which I am a part is having a competition with our sister chapter and I can’t resist a competition. But I’m also in a sort of good position this year in that I am putting aside my first attempt at a full-length manuscript for now, and I am at the beginning of two different projects, and for at least one of them I can probably at least get the bare bones down of one them in the next month. So go me!

As part of my secretarial duties, I wrote a little this-is-how-you-sign-up walkthrough as I signed up. I’m going to post it here so that it’s accessible and so that anyone who isn’t in my group can see it, and I’m going keep updating my progress here as well.

So here’s what I wrote:

Hello again, ladies! (The again is because I had just e-mailed this group the meeting minutes from last night, so this was their second e-mail from me in an hour.) I promised last night that I would sign up for NaNoWriMo today so I could tell you all how to do it. It’s my first time, too, so let’s see how this goes.
1) Go to the website: National Novel Writing Month
2) There is a convenient Learn More section to the right. There you will find that NaNo offers all kinds of support to people who want to write a novel – retreats, library resources, classroom materials for young writers, regional organizations, etc. How and whether you use these resources is up to you.
You will find that you are to “announce your novel,” then update your progress (self-report) on the site regularly, and then, on November 20, you can start submitting, or validating it.
3) Hit the Sign Up button. You will then be asked to create a user name (Mine is RLRicki), enter a valid e-mail address, and create a password. And they want to know what time zone you’re in, a question that confused me for a minute because I am dumb sometimes. I almost told them I lived in Central America.
4) An e-mail will be sent to that valid e-mail address you listed. They warn you that it might go to your spam box. Mine didn’t.
5) You click the link in the e-mail and then you hit Sign In! (You might want to hit the Remember Me button too if you, like me, can’t remember your passwords for anything even if you use the same ones all the time. I seriously have had to reset my Facebook password about six times this week because my husband updated our iOS and each time I re-signed in to Facebook on a different device, I forgot what password I used on another device and had to reset it. Then I immediately forgot it again.)
6) The next thing they want is your Home Region. If you want, you could lie, but I think they do this so that you can have the option of connecting with others in your area who are doing NaNo. I clicked USA:Illinois:Chicago.
7) Now you are on the How It Works page, which, if you’ve looked through the Learn More section, you’ve already seen. But now it’s time to actually do these things! So click on My Novel.
8) You are taken to a page that asks you to Announce Your New Novel and Tell Us About Yourself. I’m going to Tell Them About Myself first. I click on the first icon in that box – the first one on the line labeled “Participation Badges” – to set up my author profile. They want your location, age, birthday, hobbies, favorite novelling music, favorite books/authors, your website, a sponsorship website if you have one, occupation, and a bio. You can be as protective or as cavalier about privacy in this section as you like. I tend toward the cavalier.
Re: Sponsorship websites – if you like, you can set this up so that family members and friends can donate money based on what you write, like a walk-a-thon but with words. The money goes to their Young Writers Program and sponsored writers get prizes and goodies. I’m not doing it this year, because I just found out about it. But you can! It’s kind of a cool thing to do!
9) So, I saved that and I hit the tab that says, “My Novels.” Then I hit the Writing This Year? Enter Your Novel! link. If you’ve done NaNo before, you can also enter your prior novels, though to what end I’m not sure. Now it wants a title, a genre, a cover image if you’ve got one, a short synopsis, and an excerpt. I am working on two things right now that are in the very early stages. Both require a lot of research but one requires more so I’m going to use the one that requires less for NaNo. I’ve already written around 5,000 words, which is a no-no, but I came to the realization that they need to be re-written pretty drastically, so I’m going to assume that will be okay.
For my short synopsis, I used my Michael Hauge Story Concept Template sentence. You can find a version of it here:  Michael Hauge’s Story Concept Template (A version of the template, I mean, not of my synopsis.)
I am not putting in an excerpt. I mean, it’s all supposed to be new writing, right? And I’m not really sure I like what I have right now. So I’m just leaving it blank.
I think that’s it! I’m going to play around on the page a little bit. I want to see if I can figure out how we can all be writing buddies with each other. I will keep posting when I get new information. Please e-mail me at if you want more tutorial help.
So, uh, now you all know. Go forth and be merry!