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Hints and Tips: Second Year Wrimos!

Do you love NaNoWriMo? Clearly, because you’re reading this!

I Love NaNoWriMo

(Okay so my donor gifts arrived on Friday and I love the halo bracelet a little too much. So, naturally I spent time trying to take a photograph of it on my arm…)

Hello Second Year-ers! So, you’re back for more, eh?

Awesome.

(If you’re a first timer: click here.)

Whatever happened last year, you’ve made the brilliant decision to go for it again. Whether you reached 50K or not last year, you still achieved something great, something special and spectacular. You’ve likely made friends – either online or in person. And why wouldn’t you want to repeat that?

And then you’ve found yourself hooked. (After 10 years, I’m feeling there should be a NaNoWriMo Anonymous.) September rolls round and there’s that nagging feeling inside that you should be doing something. And it’s nothing to do with Christmas. Oh yes, the seeds of NaNo are sowed early.

So, second year hints and tips:

You may find your second year harder. Don’t look at me that way, I’m serious. But if you’ve done it before, why is it harder? It’s harder precisely because you’ve done it before. Suddenly, you have something to be compared too. I’m certainly not suggesting you ever compare yourself to even your own previous word count as you are a winner no matter what, but subconsciously, you’ll still do it. And somehow knowing what you’re getting yourself into is harder than not understand it at all.

Don’t compare yourself to last year. I pretty much covered this with the above point. So, whatever you got last year, was last year. Ignore it. It’s gone. Concentrate on this year. (And I realise the new NaNo site is showing everyone’s novel and word count and stuff from last year. It’s cool. You don’t have to look at it.)

Give advice. I know you’re reading advice, but you have a year’s experience under your belt, now. So, give advice to newbies. They will appreciate it and you’ll get the thrill of passing on your experience to people who have yet to know the excitement of NaNoWriMo.

Take on a mentee. Why not go one step further than advice giving? Go browse the Find a Mentee and Find a Mentor threads over in the Newbies section and give someone one on one advice and encouragement! I’ve been mentoring for the last few years and it’s awesome! And what’s more, you have someone completely new to the process who you can bounce ideas off two.

Learn from last year. I know it’s a cliché “learn from your mistakes”, but I’m serious. Did you skip a few days in the middle of November to “rest” and ended up frantically rushing at the last minute? Did you decide to “pants” it and found yourself flailing? Or, maybe the other way round – did you plan carefully only to discovered that following the plan was a nightmare? Remember what you did / didn’t do, and use that knowledge to help you this year.

Have fun. You had fun last year, make sure you have fun this year!

You’re not newbies anymore, second years! You are now experienced Wrimos. So, get out there, tuck another year comfortably under your belt and give the newbies of 2012 the support you had last year. Believe me, it’s a great feeling.

Keep writing, Wrimos!

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Why NaNoWriMo is a Fandom

At 4am on Saturday morning I was woken up by my phone vibrating ’cause the battery was fully charged. I glanced at the screen to see I had a new email. I was awake enough to open it and was delighted to find an email to MLs giving various ML-y details.

It also said that there was new merchandise in the store.

I was actually excited enough to get up, turn on my netbook and go to the NaNoWriMo website to see what the new merchandise looked like. I’m already eyeing up the thermos and I really need a new NaNoWriMo hoodie to replace the one I have, as it’s getting faded from washing and has a hole in the sleeve.

NaNoWriMo is 14 years old this year and when I was up at 4am checking out the online store, it occurred to me just how much like a fandom is it. It even has a cult following.

I am a member of several fandoms – Doctor Who, Joss Whedon, Supernatural and Tim Burton to name a few. And I own merchandise from all those fandoms (with the exception of Supernatural which I only got into in August. Although I do own seasons one and two on DVD. Is that merchandise?) Fandoms make me squeal. There are certain times of year you look forward to if you’re a member of a fandom – the new series coming out, conventions, the new movie etc.

And like any fangirl cult follower, I love the time of year when the new merchandise is released. Even if I don’t buy anything, I love pretending that I could afford it and the excitement of having it.

‘Cause if you’re a fan of something, don’t you just love owning that item with the logo on it?

I currently own the following NaNoWriMo merchandise:
– 1 pen
– 1 notebook
– 1 hoodie
– 2 t-shirts
– 2 posters

I also donate to keep the focus of my fangirling running. The company running NaNoWriMo ‘The Office of Letters and Light’ is a non-profit, so donations keep it alive! I usually donate $10 a year, as it’s all I can afford. But not this year! This year I celebrate my 10th NaNoVersary with a $100 donation! Why? Because of this comment that I made on the Job Hunting thread in the 20’s Forum last year:

On December 19th 2011, I was given a job. It was a temp job until May. In April, I was asked to extend the job until September and move to a different department who needed a temp over the summer. And in August, I was offered a one year permanent contract in a third department. I accepted.

I’m just superstitious enough to keep my pledge. And so I will be donating when the new website launches. Why don’t I donate now? For the entirely selfish reason that I want my golden halo! What’s a golden halo? This is a golden halo. It’s what you get on your profile picture if you donate for that season:

(Yes, that’s Hatter. Another fandom.)

Every year I look forward to the end of September because of NaNoWriMo. Not just for the new merchandise. September is when the site is wiped and re-launched, when the new season is officially open for business and when everyone floods back to the forums, bringing a lot of new faces with them.

NaNoWriMo is almost the fandom I’ve obsessed over for the longest. It’s piped to the post by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Here’s to many more years.

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