Author K-lee Klein is in the spotlight today as a new and regular monthly contributor to The Write Angle.
It’s NaNoWriMo for Short
November is National Novel Writing Month. The event is described as an internet-based creative writing project where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words in one month. NaNoWriMo is the recognized abbreviation, and if you follow any authors on social media, you’ve probably seen a lot of them talking about taking part.
The facts: The goal of NaNoWriMo is to keep writers or would-be writers motivated with what could be considered a world-wide love-in for authors. The daily target is 1,667 words, so that 50,000 can be achieved by November 30. The gods of NaNoWriMo encourage writers to make their goal completion, not perfection—is it only me but does that sound dirty? In other words, the objective is quantity not quality. After all, manuscripts can be edited and perfected after the month is over. The NaNo website also provides tips for writers, plus information and links for writer meet-ups.
I’ve been a NaNoWriMo’er since 2011, the year I published my first book. Since then I’ve recorded 353,000 NaNo words and “won” four times. Of course, my 2014 winner, Manny’s Heart, is 147,000 words on its own.
A big part of NaNoWriMo is buddying-up with other anxious authors to commiserate…I mean, offer each other support and encouragement. We message back and forth about how great it is to see our—and everyone else’s—word counts grow. We post about our NaNo successes, about how November is the best month of the year ever, and how excited we are to sit down every day so the words can flow out of us like babbling brooks of awesome.
Who am I fooling? Here are some of my real thoughts about NaNoWriMo:
- NaNoWriMo is hard.
- It’s stressful and intimidating—and did I mention hard?
- November is the suckiest month of the year. (except it’s my baby boy’s birthday)
- Every year I say I’m not signing up again.
- My friends always have better daily word counts than I do.
- Meet-ups scare the crap out of me.
- I’m never going to get 50,000 words out of this damn book.
- Why the hell am I doing this to myself again??
Now, perhaps that’s not all true but it’s my head talking, remember? Truth is, NaNo isn’t that bad, because it does encourage me to write every day or at least try. It makes me focus on that whole quantity versus quality thing, because I tend to be a serial editor, and rather than going into a document and moving forward with fresh content, I go back and pick at everything I’ve written…every time. I blame my OCD and perfectionism.
So even though it’s still a struggle to add new words every day, and I’m still intimidated by how well my buddies are doing, I’m not actually nuts for signing up for this again, every year. NaNoWriMo gives me incentive to write during a month smack-dab in the middle of a very tough season for me. The days I do write, I feel accomplished and productive. My friends are great and do give me support and encouragement—and even some wonderful readers, as well.
In conclusion, NaNoWriMo has given me a bit of structure for the month of November—structure I don’t usually work well with. I’m more of a fly-by-night writer, or should I say, my muse is a free-spirit and doesn’t like constraints. That being said, I’ve written some of my best books during NaNo so that proves muse-boy can be tamed once and a while. I can still write in my own sporadic style—maybe 2,500 words one day and only 1,200 the next or 5,000 on Monday and none on Tuesday—but in the end, it evens out and I’m well aware of my actual goal. Also, since I’m a visual person, the little bar graphs of daily word count and word goals make the struggle less daunting and more achievable.
I’ve had to overcome a few obstacles in my life, and continue to do so. Mindfulness is an important tool that includes taking things moment-to-moment, using baby steps to get to where I want to go, to who I want to be. NaNoWriMo is all about baby steps, too. And as in life, those steps don’t have to be perfect or even memorable as long as they take me to my final destination—as long as they help me along me journey to my ultimate goal.
About the Author
K-lee Klein loves guys with long hair and tattoos, and you’ll often find her front and center at her favorite rock concerts. She has bounced around Western Canada all her life, but will always consider the solitude and beauty of the British Columbian mountains home. Her life is blessed as the proud mother of three now-grown but still spoiled kids, the servant of two bossy felines, and the wife of a truly patient husband.
Her writing muse is terribly temperamental, so to keep him close by and in check, she had him inked on her left calf. The gorgeous, long-haired, mostly naked, kneeling angel that resulted is truly a work of art, although he’s still a handful and hopelessly uncontrollable. She writes on his schedule and inspiration.
K-lee tends to fall easily into obsessions. When something grabs her attention, she jumps into it headfirst with complete abandon. Actors, musicians, superheroes, fictional characters, and brainwashed assassins all hold spots on her cannot-get-enough list. She once followed Thirty Seconds to Mars around the United States and Canada and saw them perform fourteen times that year. Obsession sometimes leads to ideas for her kneeling angel to turn into stories.
Although an introvert in person, she’s extroverted online and has met many wonderful friends there, sometimes with the added fun of meeting them in person at gay romance conferences. She’s grateful for all the people in her life who accept her as she is and support her through her ups and downs as mom, wife, and joyfully obsessed writer.