Nanowrimo Collab style – ‘Freewrimo’


If you are on social media you’ll have heard ‘nanowrimo’ on many a writing site recently. You will probably in fact not want to hear it anymore.

If at the other extreme, like the DJ Chris Evans you’ve shunned your phone to reclaim your time and live in the moment, it might have escaped your attention.

What is Nanowrimo?

I’t’s what it says on the tin – November novel writing ‘mission’ en masse. Where writers commit to writing their first draft in the month of November and can use tools and reminders and support to help them meet their targets.

As we are three days into November already it got me thinking, I must remind Collabers amidst the fervour of Nanowrimo that this is a great time to kickstart writing projects.

But Miss, I don’t want to write a novel, and I’m too busy to write it in a month” I hear you cry.

No problemo, here at Collab Writers, we are also put off by the ‘rules’ and the ‘prep’ that a simple google search of Nanowrimo reveals:

To hit 50,000 words in one month, you must write at least 1.666 words per day over the 30 day period.”

Geez, this gives me the wrong kind of shivers. Do you really think that Hemingway and Oscar Wilde wrote that way? Doubt it very much, they probably drank strong coffee and a bottle of the hard stuff and wrote till the candle went out and the bottle drained. In the words of Ernest Hemingway:

Never delay kissing a pretty girl or opening a bottle of whisky.”

This isn’t encouraging alcoholism. There are plenty of non alcoholic gins, everywhere. What I’m getting at is that I’m pretty sure Ernest and Oscar took better care of the pleasures in life than abiding by the rules and they wouldn’t have been so hard on themselves! We live in a world of rules, laws and must do’s. Creativity is about ideas that can come from ordinary life and passion. Whilst you of course need to show up to get words on a page, chill out and let life flow! If you write 1,500 words one day and a fat zero the next, but you had some sh*t hot creative thoughts then that’s the job well done writers!

Have no fear, in our disruptive style we have suggested a mix up tape for how to approach ‘Freewrimo’. Here at Collab, we’ve ripped up the rule book from day one. Our ‘Consequences’ collaborative work of fiction (which is a third editing pass closer to being ready) disrupted the Victorian parlour game, Consequences. It was the genesis behind the idea of Collab Writers. We then had to ‘take action’ to make a creative collaboration platform. Here is Jennie Griffiths, Co-Founder of Collab Writers’ idea for a 7 day plan:

Freewrimo – 7 day plan

You heard it here first, Freewrimo is Collab Writers’ disruptive and inclusive version of Nanowrimo. If you need a definition, make up your won – think ‘in the moment’ and the freedom to create, when and wherever you want.

At Collab Writers, we encourage you to create, which includes writing freely in the moment, at any moment you can. Freewrimo is not just for November, our advice applies equally to any day of any month, any time. If you awake at 3am because Dr Sleep stole your dreams, our advice is don’t moan, sleepwalk to your lappie and write away.

Day 1 – Download those ideas:
Wonder, wonder and wonder some more – jot down your ideas even a few words trigger your memory. If you need help to download ideas, read our previous blog on this topic and ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. You’ll be turning ideas away you’ll get so many!

Day 2: Thinking and not thinking:
Now that you’ve planted the seed of creativity, brainstorm on your ideas, think fast and slow about how might they take shape. This can happen by not thinking as well as thinking. Meditate or go for a run. Or,  just be in the moment, ‘Freewrimo’ style.

Day 3: Plan
This doesn’t have to be a storyboard – a one pager will do – a mind map or words in bubbles that link into the mothership of your idea. A beginning, middle and end is the makeup of any and every story. Oh, and emotion, never ever forget the emotion.

The importance of the planning process was confirmed to me recently by one of our most respected writers, Salman Rushdie. At an Esquire talk and book signing of his new novel ‘Quichotte – on behalf of Collab Writers, I asked how he plans after downloading an idea.  In short, he answered “You have to plan” and I would agree. He expanded that, at the beginning he planned “a lot” admitting that he plans less these days. He trusts the process and let’s it take him where it wants to (I am paraphrasing).

If you worry that you will be sat with a blank page, fear not, have faith. Hemingway’s way to combat Writer’s Block, which is a great tool if you are stuck is to write a true sentence first and go from there. In the words of Ernest Hemingway’s delectable ‘A Moveable Feast’ channel this mantra:

“Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now.”

Day 4: Take a pew and get some words on a page
Open your lappie or notebook, grab a pen and write. There is no way around this – ideas won’t be shared in your head. They can only be shaped, edited and read if you get words down on a page. It doesn’t matter how rough, good, or bad. Everything can be worked through and transformed with the help of a good editor – if your route is to publish.

Day 5: Carry on writing
You’ve done the hard part, you showed up, you just need to carry on and one day finish. My advice, is to keep showing up. You won’t be disappointed.

Day 6: Take a Break  – I’m too busy living to write
That’s fine – give yourself a break today and every day. Life is for living. Do as few things as possible in life because you feel you must. Really, life is short and we are here to experience and enjoy it. In the words of our late, brilliant literary friend, Oscar Wilde:

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

How can you write a masterpiece if you have no real life experience to write about? It’s the emotion that your readers want and that friends, comes from living life.

Day 7: Water your ideas again.
Like flowers, your creative projects need care, attention and action. Get your watering can and feed your ideas, if you want them to grow. If you don’t care for them, let them die. It’s your choice, not every idea can come to life. With one more from Oscar Wilde:

Art never expresses anything but itself”

With ‘Freewrimo’ encouragement from Collab Writers and the inspiration of the literary greats behind you, go forth this November, December and into 2020 with the freedom to create any time, anywhere. Let ‘FREEWRIMO‘ be your mantra. Repeat it daily & write.

Do you fancy some time out with fellow creatives?

Here are two November Collab events to what your creative appetite:

Join Collab Writers to mingle and create in the style of Wilde and Hemingway at the Library Club London this Thursday, 7 November,

And come and party with us on 27 November at the new environmentally friendly Arboretum Club. The living ceiling of plants promises to oxygenate your magical ideas.

See you there,

Collab Writers.

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