Sideshow’s Week in Geek: NaNoWriMo!

Sideshow’s Week in Geek spotlights some of the cool and exciting ways Sideshow employees share our lifestyle as pop culture fans on and off the clock.  This week- National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo!

November marks the official celebration of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month- wherein writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words of manuscript. Authors provide pep-talks, and writers share different resources for overcoming writer’s block and how to properly pace yourself through this marathon of typing.  The event first began in 1999, and has grown to international scale.

Each month, a group of Sideshow staffers regularly gather for a Writers Group to exchange writing, review each other’s stories, and give feedback and advice for writing that next screenplay, novel, comic, or passion project.  For this week’s Week in Geek, the Sideshow Writers Group shared some of their strategies, thoughts, and inspirations behind taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge, or working toward smaller personal goals.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

“I am not participating officially in NaNoWriMo. I had hoped to finish my book by the end of November, but there have been several setbacks.” –Heidi

“Yes… and no. I like using NaNoWriMo as motivation to write as much as I can, but I won’t kick myself if I don’t hit 50,000 words. This year, my personal goal is to write the first draft of a novel I’ve already outlined. As of 11/16, I’ve written 38,000 words, which I already count as a success.” –Kiana

“Sort of. The plan is to finish my current project before the end of the month. I estimate this goal to be about 24,000 words.” –Daniel

“I am not participating this year, sadly. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to waste this month!  My personal goal is to write two new chapters in my novel, while also finishing the remaining edits on a short story I’ve been working on.” –Amy


Have you ever attempted/completed the challenge in past years?

“I have never done a writing competition, but for my next novel, I am going to use the 50,000 words in a month model.” –Heidi

“I always use NaNoWriMo as a guideline, but not a hard-and-fast rule. I don’t think I ever “completed” the challenge in past years, but I have definitely churned out more writing in Novembers past than any other month.” –Kiana

“Yes, I completed the full 50,000 words in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. I participated in 2015, but too much was going on at that time to complete the challenge.” –Daniel

“I’ve only ever officially attempted the challenge once before- when I was in 3rd grade.  I wrote 20,000 words about a feudal kingdom of talking jungle creatures, never finished the story, and the document got accidentally deleted from my family computer.  Womp womp.” –Amy


Do you have any writing rituals- tea, coffee, music, etc?

“I prefer to write first thing in the morning when it’s quiet.” –Heidi

“I like to go on walks before I sit down to write. It helps clear my mind of the errands/cleaning/whatever I need to do and just let inspiration flow. To my dismay, I seem to have my best ideas when I am in inconvenient places, such as driving in traffic, taking a shower, or standing in line at the supermarket. Most of my writing emerges from shorthand notes that I’ve scribbled on loose scraps of paper.” –Kiana

“I usually listen to music that I feel fits the theme of what I am writing. A cup of coffee helps too.” –Daniel

“I like making mood playlists for my stories.  I usually start any writing project with music to set the atmosphere, then I brew some tea and maybe get a cookie before I settle in. I’m always coming up with character names, random bits of dialogue, and other plot ideas while I’m on the go so I try to keep a notebook on hand to help guide me when I open up that document page.” –Amy


What is your favorite aspect of the Sideshow Writers Group?

“The writing group gives me access to constructive feedback and a community of like-minded people to share ideas and inspiration with. These last six months have been especially challenging. The gentle and consistent prod has made the difference between moving forward and giving up completely.” –Heidi

“Sideshow Writers Group is wonderful source of encouragement and constructive criticism; the feedback is invaluable! It is a delight to meet with so many talented and creative writers, and I am genuinely invested in all of their stories.” –Kiana

“Quite frankly, it is the fantastic feedback and critique I have been receiving from my colleagues. I feel it is really making the overall work stronger. Also, they are each so talented, I’m genuinely excited to read the stories they submit each week.” –Daniel

“I love meeting with the group just to see the sheer amount of talent that the Sideshow staff exhibit.  I get fatigued a lot with my own writing, and don’t always have something new to contribute, but reviewing other stories and getting advice from my fellows is extremely valuable and always entertaining!” –Amy


Anything else you’d like to add?

“Good luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, whether you’re doing the official 50,000 word challenge, or aiming to accomplish your own personal goals!” –Kiana

“The best advice I can give to complete NaNoWriMo is to plant your butt in a chair, reread what you wrote the previous day, use a notepad and paper to plot out the next scene you want to write, and then eliminate all distractions and start typing.” –Daniel

“I’m learning to write first, edit later.  It’s tough, but for anyone out there taking the NaNoWriMo challenge, just make sure you get the writing done!  Get the ideas out of your head and fine-tune them later, or else you’ll be stuck with a blank page for a long time.  Trust me.” –Amy


Big thanks to the Sideshow Writers Group, and good luck to everyone undertaking the NaNoWriMo challenge!  Be sure to check out our last Week in Geek, where Sideshow staff paid tribute to the late, great Stan Lee by sharing memories of meeting him, and what his work meant to them.

How have you Let Your Geek Sideshow this week?  Let us know in the comments.