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How To Be A NaNo Rockstar: Guest Post By Mary Rajotte

October 31, 2010

How NaNoWriMo Can Unleash Your Inner Writing Rock Star

Writing 50,000 words in a month may seem like a punishment to some writers. But to those of us who harbor a secret desire to be a rock star, National Novel Writing Month is our ticket to write like one, even if we brandish a pen instead of a guitar.

The beauty of NaNoWriMo? The pure, stripped down scribble and scrawl makes is that much more sexy and dangerous. It allows you to live out loud, and write with a literary swagger that may not always see the light of day.

I’ll be the first to admit that November can be a daunting month when it finally rolls around. While my nerve may waver from time to time, the one thing I do have is heart.

I’m not about to let my fears stop me from signing up for another chance to go toe-to-toe with my inner critic. And NaNoWriMo can be a confidence-boosting extravaganza of rocking proportions if you’ll just give it the chance.

The Fear of Falling Flat

For perpetual editors like myself, NaNoWriMo inspires the rebel in me to leave in those misplaced punctuation marks and dangling sentence fragments.

The freedom to be fast and loose with my thoughts is the thing that draws me back for my 4th crack at NaNoWriMo this year.

How can I resist? How can you?! You are encouraged – nay, commanded – to be wild and rebellious with your words. With quantity as our goal, we can ramble on endlessly about our characters, the setting, the intricacies and every little detail of the worlds we’ve created because our main focus is simple – fill the page.

Obviously, I also aim to write well, but even if every sentence is not my best, I try to overlook the messiness and not let the fear of looking bad inhibit my attitude or my progress.

Facing Literary Stage Fright

I would love to feel like a writing rock*star every time I put pen to paper. The truth is…I don’t. Some days, I need to block out all the self-doubt, adopt a raw, Siouxsie Sioux-inspired snarl and exorcise my insecurities by slinging some ink.

The first time I attempted NaNoWriMo in 2007, I kind of felt like I had stepped onstage and was suddenly thrust into the spotlight. My only choice? Seize the opportunity to show off my unique voice. Akin to punk rock, the necessity to write faster and more aggressively for an entire month left no time to get sidetracked by pesky self-doubts.

The only way to stay on track? I embraced the idea that some of what I was about to write would, in fact, suck.

Getting Over It

Not every page, paragraph or even phrase will be the equivalent of the punk rock power chord. That is what editing is for. NaNoWriMo gives you the chance to exercise your literary prowess.

When I sit down at my writing desk in November, I know that it may take 1 page – or it could take 5 – before anything good comes out of a writing session. Although that may seem like a lot of spilled ink for a few good words, uncovering those gems in the editing process is what makes it all worthwhile.

I cannot count the number of times I have surprised myself during NaNoWriMo. The month goes by in such a blur that most times I write while completely immersed in a magical bubble where my brain is wholly focused and only when re-reading do I A)wonder where the ideas came from and B)realize not only are they my words – but they are good!

So, I’m ready for another month of shutting off my inner editor, scribbling into the wee hours, sousing myself in coffee and strutting my stuff. Are you?

Ready to answer the siren call of NaNoWriMo? Add me as a buddy and we can rock our writing in unison!

Rockin’ it IBC Style
Like every other author, a traditional book deal would rock my socks. But when I stumbled upon the Indie Book Collective, their ideas about self-publishing really struck a chord with me.

Their workshops, community vibe and ideas for indie authors to utilize social media and alternative marketing methods have that DIY, punk rock attitude that makes sense for authors like me who want to carve their own path.

Having a collective group of authors who are just as passionate about writing, reading and promoting your work as they are their own is an inspiring thing.

I love what the IBC is doing and I jumped at the chance to guest blog for them! Thank you, ladies of the Indie Book Collective, for allowing me to share my passion with my fellow literary rock stars (or budding writing-rock-stars-to-be).

Thanks for having me!

I love what the IBC is doing and I jumped at the chance to guest blog for them! Thank you, ladies of the Indie Book Collective, for allowing me to share my passion with my fellow literary rock stars (or budding writing-rock-stars-to-be).


Mary Rajotte is a self-professed bibliophile and wordsmith who pens dark, atmospheric fiction, and creepy tales that explore myth, dream and nightmare.

A freelance copy writer, Mary works with small business clients, contributes articles to the Toronto Writing Examiner and Bright Hub. She can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and her author Website.

For more tips on how to rock your writing, visit, where Mary’s alter ego, Miss Write, gives you the confidence to show-off your own literary swagger. You can also follow Miss Write on Twitter.   You can find additional writing articles here.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2010 11:51 pm

    Great post, Mary Jo! Last year was my first NaNoWriMo and when I unleashed the Muse she went berserk. I wrote about 105,000 words last November. Many of them were sheer crap, but the first half(ish) of last year’s book has become my current, nearly finished novel that I plan to publish independently.

    Alas, I am unable to do NaNoWriMo this year because of scheduling conflicts, but I will be watching you and my other writing rockstar friends dive in!

  2. November 3, 2010 8:11 am

    Great post, Mary. You nailed NaNo with this line: “Seize the opportunity to show off my unique voice.”

    The beauty of NaNo aka fast writing, is that the inner critic or whatever you want to call that demon, very often stifles our voices. The word count forces us to agree to write “crap” and from that emerges an authentic voice.

    My first NaNo was last year and I went on to complete the novel and am now re-writing it. I was thrilled with the story that was revealed, and like you, amazed by the number of times I surprised myself, which is the best part of writing.

    Since I’m doing final edits on another novel, I have to pass on NaNo this year, but will be back next year.


  1. Stop Saying It Sucks | | ROCK your writing! m/w/

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