Good morning, friends and followers. This morning, it’s my special pleasure to bring you a very special spotlight interview with the wonderful Sushi–a wrimo among wrimos, admin of the Wikiwrimo, and someone who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several times at Night of Writing Dangerously events in San Francisco. She’s also the only spotlight victim so far who has dared to appeal the usual questions, on the grounds that she didn’t have a Nano plot. So… Sushi!
Why did you decide to participate in NaNoWriMo the first time?
I wanted to be a writer since fifth grade but never could finish writing a novel. By 2002 I had started one novel but gave up after three chapters. One evening in October I was reading friends’ diaries on Diaryland when one of those people mentioned a thing called National Novel Writing Month. Novel? Month? This immediately intrigued me because according to my teenage logic, how could I be a writer if I couldn’t finish writing a book?
So without any idea of what I was getting into, I signed up and finished with six hours to spare. And I’ve finished every year since.
What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I write a lot. 50k is a minimum, not a threshold, and after years and years of Nanoing, I take that very seriously. After all, NaNo is a self-challenge and there’s no fun if you’re not challenging yourself in some way.
I’m also a pantser, and the fact that I have only a tiny idea that may or may not work out doesn’t bother me one bit. Give me a concept and a character, and I’m ready to go. The rest can get figured out as I go along.
What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
This is a thing I could on and on about. But just to name a few:
Back up your novel in multiple places. Anything can happen: you wash your USB drive, you delete the email containing your novel, or your hard drive dies. Or all three happen on the same day. The more backups and the more regular backups you make, the better. Every year multiple people lose their novel at the end of the month. Don’t be one of them. Back up your novel.
Get involved in the NaNo community. I’ve been fortunate to meet most of my best friends through the NaNo community, and this community is supportive and kind. So go post on the forums, get involved with your region, and make a writing buddy or two. Writing a novel is much more fun with company.
Remember that NaNo is a self-challenge. So don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, and stop comparing your own NaNo experience to everyone else’s. There will be people with more words than you, and yes, there will be people who finish 50k very quickly. Their NaNo experience is different from yours, but they are still valid ones. This is true no matter the individual goal–to write 50,000 words or 500,000 or to finish a previously started novel. Worrying about everyone else will not get your novel written.
Sneaky Ninja question! Where, if anywhere, are your backup files?
Most of my past novels are in Dropbox, as well as most of my Nano icon/collection archive. These don’t include my 2012 NaNo novels and archives, which is something I now feel bad enough to fix.
The shameless plug section:
Sushi is a twenty-something human who is interested in far too many things for her own good: among them writing, NaNoWriMo, math, and open technology and culture. She runs the unofficial but still awesome NaNo wiki at wikiwrimo.org, tweets often at @sushimustwrite, and blogs occasionally at sushimustwrite.com
Contrary to popular belief, she is not food and should not be consumed as such.