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Writing a Novel this November? I am...

If you're writing a 50,000 word novel in one month, you need caffeine!

It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days – specifically, this November. So I have no idea why I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. Having put my name down already, I belatedly decided to ask my friend Donna Orazio, a Fairfield writer, why she’d done it a couple of years ago, and how she felt about it now.

“I did it as a challenge,” she told me. “I saw a reference to it on-line and decided to try to see if I could actually write 50,000+ words.”  I think I’m doing it for the same reasons, so I asked Donna what the experience was like. She told me that the hardest part was writing consistently.

“It’s easier to write a certain number of words every day, rather than trying to write just on the weekends.” She also told me that she had no real plot when she started, although she had an idea that involved three women whose lives become intertwined in some sort sort of a train setting.

Apart from writing consistently, Donna told me that, in order to succeed, the goal shouldn’t be to have a brilliant piece of writing, but rather a very rough draft. “I did no editing while I was writing.  My goal was getting words on the page,” she said.

I asked Donna whether she’d done anything with her novel after the month ended. She told me that she hadn’t but since I’d asked her she was thinking about pulling it out and rereading it. “I know there are some very good stretches of writing in there and I like all three of my characters as they came alive on the paper.”

I’m feeling better already. If I don’t manage to write 50,000 words, I can console myself with the thought that I may have helped Donna’s novel to see the light of day. Watch this space…

Although Donna didn’t do this, WriMo’s (as I believe they’re called) often like to write outside their homes, so they won’t be disturbed. In the past, Fairfield Library has provided a room for WriMos. Café’s are also a good idea, although make sure you don’t outstay your welcome. If you’re nursing one latte for two hours, you may get some pointed looks.  One more thing: some café’s have live entertainment from time to time. It’s best to check before you find yourself distracted by a band or open mike night. And if you absolutely must have wi-fi, (which you shouldn’t really need – you’re writing, remember?) check that it’s available, and free.

In Black Rock the Port Coffeehouse is happy to host writers, and so is in Fairfield. In fact, Andrew, a novelist disguised as a barista there, told me he might even get his half finished novel out of the drawer where it’s languishing. The doesn’t mind if you hang around, but it’s best to do it outside their main rush hours.

In Westport, the Library is a good option (they have coffee, too), as well as , with two locations, and in Bridge Square.

Norwalk boasts several coffee shops, including the Beach Recovery Café on Westport Avenue, and on Washington Street has comfy sofas, as well as small tables where you can type.

in Darien has great facilities and great coffee, as does the Darien Library, which has a café.

In Old Greenwich, the draws residents from all over town, and regularly features local photographers' and arists' work …

In Shelton, my friends recommend the which is open until 11pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

And of course, there’s always Starbucks. They’re open decent hours, and you won’t be the only person with a laptop. But if you need to write at 3 in the morning, your best bet is the in Fairfield. And they serve bottomless cups of coffee to keep you writing until dawn.

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Michelle Bowers November 03, 2011 at 08:20 PM
I just committed to it, too. Now I'm reading Patch instead of getting my word count done....
Caitlin Mazzola November 03, 2011 at 08:35 PM
@ Michelle -- too funny! I always wanted to do NaNoWriMo but never prepared for it and always came up short when figuring out WHAT to write about... good luck with your endeavor!!
Gabi Coatsworth December 02, 2011 at 03:39 PM
How did you do? I managed to finish...
Kayleigh Apicerno October 24, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Hello All, Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo this year? I will be! This will be my 3rd attempt, and hopefully my 3rd win. If anyone is in the Shelton area and wants to do a write-in there, I'm in.
Jaimie Cura October 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I've done NaNoWriMo three times, I think - successfully did the 50,000 words twice. This year, I'm going to attempt it again - it's such a cool community of writers!

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