National Novel Writing Month and National Solo Album Month

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November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo). For those of you who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo started as a challenge to write a fiction novel in the month of November. A novel being defined as 50,000 words. It still primarily is, however, participants doing something else (non-fiction, memoir, poetry, songwriting, etc.) were and are considered 'rebels'. My first NaNoWriMo was in 2014 and I approached it with the intent to write a sort of songbook with a few pages or so each of the stories behind the song, which made me a 'rebel' right from the start. The NaNoWriMo forum to me is overwhelming however the challenge is split into regions and I mainly limited socialization to the regional forum. In the middle of November 2014 and into 2015 that concept morphed into a sort of memoir, and to include some of my paintings and the stories behind them. By 2016 I had abandoned that project and was writing short stories tied loosely around the idea of a dystopian future society run by one large tech company and a tech geek revolutionary inventing a time machine to bring Johnny Cash to write the soundtrack and song songs for the revolution. It was fun making up their adventures along the way. By 2017 I decided to just write songs. In 2018 the 50,000 words requirement was allowed to be replaced by some sort of creative equivalent and thats what I have done with songwriting in NaSoAlMo. 2018 and 2019 I still liked to go to the write-ins, write lyrics during word sprints, soak in the creative atmosphere, and hang out with the cool and quirky writer kids.
Here is a link for anyone interested:

NaSoAlMo is literally a solo challenge to write and record 29 minutes and nine seconds of original music in the month of November. Also for the writer to play all the instruments and do all of the recording and production. There is a Facebook group which has some activity, a Reddit which has little, but nowhere near the level of participation and forum that we see here in 50/90. As a result it is much more of a solitary challenge. While lo-fi is permitted, and almost encouraged, in my experience since 2012 many put a lot of effort into the production and many of the finished albums and EP's get posted to places like Bandcamp. The website is really just for signing up and reporting album completion. Posting a link to the recordings is optional. Each year I have managed to meet/exceed the 29 minutes goal and in some years I averaged a song a day.
Here is a link for anyone interested:

This year I plan to do both though I may be nearer 30 minutes than a song a day (around 100 minutes) in NaSoAlMo and still a rebel hanging out in NaNoWriMo. I know some fellow 5090'ers have done either or both in the past in fact that is how I found out about both challenges. Is anyone else planning to do either NaSoAlMo or NaNoWriMo?

I always have plans to do the solo album thing and some years I participate. I probably should do the writing thing, instead. It's been years since I've written regularly and I feel that it would suit me better at this point in my life. (Besides, I do FAWM and 50/90 every year and Songfight in between. I think I write enough songs, eh?)

But I have a month to decide, so...

Hmm. I am currently indecisive about doing NaNoWriMO.... I have attempted it in the past more than a few times, and have ever only unofficially completed it once. I wasn't taking part in the forums, however that may change in future now I know how much a difference it makes to have a support group, if you will, like here in 5090.

However I am excited ATM about the prospect of NaSoAlMo! The thought that I could spend a lot more time over my songs, now knowing I am capable of doing it, excites me and I feel it will be interesting to see what I can come up with, with MUCH more time to spend on the album! Ideally I wanna aim to reach the 30 minute mark as suggested, because my production value will increase and more time will be made over getting it to sound right, meaning I'll be more detailed with it.

The writing challenge interests me and always has... I like how you've approached it as a 'rebel'. @AndyGetch, and that it can be more than just words. See this seems more up my street as an idea, doing it differently than everyone else! It gives it a new life to me, so I *might* consider doing NaNo again, as a 'rebel', and using your technique of sticking to the local forums there... maybe that's what I'd need, to know that others are doing the same Smile

So I'm going to do 1/2 at least, or 2/2, but the album is very likely to be made Biggrin

@tcelliott Good
@nerdjealous Thanks, yes it is fun to proclaim myself as a rebel *biggrin*. Good to hear that you are interested in both. NaNo is tough without a support group. I'm lucky to live in a good active region with ML's who go above and beyond the call of duty and I'm not sure if I would have stuck it out the first time in 2014 without the write-ins and the new friends I met there.

dzd's picture

@AndyGetch I always try to spell that Gretsch Wink just habits Biggrin

Thanks! I might actually lean a little more towards the writing one actually now doing some thinking about it, but my mind changes frequently Biggrin I've always hated the cleaned up and polished recording process, I tend to start not liking things after more than one or two takes, or having to hear it a ton adding any other instruments working on mixing etc......... I know that's what a lot of people love, and I don't mind it with others work, just not my own :D, and am going to try to not write any new music for a little while and focus on what's already there, so more of a personal challenge.

I've not done much novel writing, past a small short story/some various IRL columns and such, I might actually enjoy that more. Johnny Cash time travel to write the revolutions music sounds like a good one Biggrin you ever finish it as a whole? or just keep it short stories? either way, great stuff I'm sure haha.

Thanks again its nice to get peoples opinions/experiences on things before jumping in and expecting something totally different.

@dzd I actually never finished anything. It was fun writing the drafts but I quickly tired of the editing process. Also after the 2016 (Johnny Cash time travel short stories) NaNo I had an epiphany that I was spreading my time too thin across three hobbies and I needed to prioritize. I did a clustering/mindmap exercise of what was important to me and what I had the most interest in. Music had the most points of intersection and almost all connected to songwriting (for fun). Painting came in second. At the time I was taking a Tuesday night class that was a fun group but my frequency of painting dropped and I was doing paintings based on songs or song ideas. I had the realization that my writing writing kept circling back to how I could use that to write songs. As of now I haven't painted since April (but keep promising myself I will now that 100/180 is over). TBH as of now I have completely lost interest in writing for anything beyond my own amusement or as a dump of whatever is occupying mental energy.

The beauty of both NaNoWriMo and NaSoAlMo is that there is no expectation of sharing or requirement of posting for recognition of completing the challenge. NaNo can be "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" repeated 5,000 times and Naso can be lo-fi. Myself it is mostly me and guitar, often a one-take recording just like here. For me it has been fun to try different things and explore different creative paths. Maybe I try again someday IDK. Not this year though Nea . No relation to the Fred Gretsch family (and that is one of many common misspellings ROFL ) although I do have one each of electric (a Fender really after they bought the company), and a 60's acoustic and classical (both bought used and stupid cheap, however they were made in Brooklyn, NY when it really was) Gretsch guitars.

dzd's picture

@AndyGetch Nice! I've had a couple older electrics in the past always been a fan of their jangle a Country Gentlemen that spoiled me Biggrin , have a "Fender" as well now, Chinese electromatic, just got it early this year, was a used 2016 and have already grown quite fond of it I still may do some pickup swapping eventually, but also love it pretty much as it is. Great find, finding some actual American Gretsch stuff cheap.

Kind of why I'm leaning more towards the writing, it's not something I ever make myself do, just sit down and write, especially trying to stay on topic, freewriting yeah, I tend to do too much of that Biggrin but I figure it probably will all probably turn into song material as well. I think if I try to do the album one it will probably just turn into like you said, basically another fawm. I'll at least give it a shot, and yeah I hadn't even really given trying to edit a hundred or two pages much thought, and got a shiver up my spine just thinking about that, when I don't even like editing a songs worth Biggrin

Most painters I know tend to go in bigger spurts than most creative endeavors its always seemed to me. I have a couple friends that will sometimes go 3-4 years painting nothing, then nonstop for the next year or two. Kind of strange, hope you do get back into it!

I signed up for the April version of the National Novel Writing Month after @AndyGetch posted a similar thread during FAWM (thank you, @AndyGetch!!!).
I ended up with about 23,000 words during April and another 2000 during May and June and then it ground to a halt once 50/90 started.
I hope to get back to it after Rocktober is over.
I'm a big fan of short-term payoff, so this long-term writing thing is really making it hard to finish.
The editing process is gonna be difficult, too.
But hey, it's something I've been meaning to do for quite a while, so the motivation of the challenge was welcome.
Again, thanks to @AndyGetch for originally pointing it out!

I did NaNo for a number of years before turning my hand to songwriting. This fits me better.

@Fuzzy Very cool and if your writing is anything like your songwriting, then that would be an adventurous read.
@metalfoot Smile

@dzd yeah it's a good way to get songwriting material - that's why I'm doing it - hoping to create a concept album from my NaNo project for NaSoAlMo

@AndyGetch cheers for the suggestion about joining the local forums on there. I have signed up for my NaNo project :O Got some ideas already and looking forward to November now Biggrin !!

@dzd Thanks for the encouragement. I did start a bit of an abstract painting study on a Bristol pad sheet that I had used for smearing leftover paint, so nothing to lose there LOL. Tuesday I did what I would do when I had no ideas in painting class. drew my grid and wrote the numbers 2020 horizontally and vertically. Then used my drawing templates geometric shapes to creates some echoes and drew some reflection lines. Then I started filling in the gaps Tuesday for a half hour and Wednesday for an hour. Sort of like my version of an adult coloring book Acute .
@nerdjealous So very cool! I am leaning towards looking at the weaker songs and story gaps in my electric car musical (started in 50/90 2019, continued NaSoAlMo 2019) and writing songs to fill them in NaSoAlMo. Maybe I actually finish it this time Blush .

dzd's picture

@AndyGetch actually does sound like a really good idea to get some ideas flowing, or even just back into the act of doing even if the original turns into nothing you like! Good to hear! I can't even do good stick people I'll resign myself to admiring others work hahah.

Always been a fan of fractalish looking stuff, lots of M.C. Eschers stuff seems like it may of started out that way.

update to nanowrimo 2020 = i didnt achieve word count for personal reasons. but i did write 100k words in jan 21. success, swings and roundabouts.

That is great @Pants Art, I did manage to write about 20 songs and freewrite over 50k. Pandemic adjustment was doing the whole November thing with only virtual write-ins in a Discord group for our NaNoWriMo region. NaSoAlMo is completely solo anyway so no change there Biggrin .

@AndyGetch nice job, freewrite might be my choice next time. Congrats on reaching target Smile wonder what may/summer challenges will bring??