October 29, 2020
Have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo? Don’t worry, we hadn’t either but it’s pretty big in writing circles!
NaNoWriMo is a not-for-profit international organisation that promotes National Novel Writing Month, an idea that began in 1999 as a challenge to authors and would-be authors: write 50,000 words of a novel during the 30 days of November.
For the past four years, South Burnett author Imogene Nix has been the local “municipal liaison” for NaNoWriMo, organising events and inspiring new authors to discover the resources available to help them complete their projects.
COVID-19 means, unfortunately, there will be no face-to-face events held this year but Imogene will be interacting with participants via Zoom, in a Facebook group and via a chatroom on the NaNoWriMo website.
Imogene will be working alongside three other published authors: Victorian-based Keri Arthur (a New York Times best-selling author); Sunshine Coast historical romance writer Suzi Love and Brisbane-based erotica author Sassie Lewis.
Imogene has already helped to nurture writing talent in the region via NaNoWriMo.
“Last year we had one writer who received a request from an Australian literary agent,” she said.
“But it’s not just about beginning authors. The wider picture is to build a network of authors who want to unite to get their works out there.”
She is keen for writers to “fulfil the promise” that is inside them.
This is something that she is achieving herself with a vengeance.
Asked how many books she had published, the answer was simple: “I stopped counting at 45”.
Imogene mainly writes romances – some quite steamy! – which can be set in sci fi and fantasy worlds, post-apocalyptic and paranormal scenarios, contemporary or historical.
She began writing almost accidentally.
While living in Tasmania, she was running an online book store. She was approached by the Australian Romance Readers Association to sponsor one of their annual awards.
Imogene agreed and went along to the group’s annual conference which was being held that year in Bondi, NSW.
“I listened to the women about the process of writing and the way they get their ideas,” she said. “I started thinking, I could do that!”
“I came home and I decided to write a book. For three months I did nothing else – and the rest is history!”
Imogene said NaNoWriMo was “huge”.
There are 306,000 participants across the world and 972 people acting as “municipal liaisons”.
The November experience is about the process of writing and actually getting the words down on paper.
Imogene encourages her charges to find the process that’s right for them but not to edit at this stage.
“At the end of November they should have 50,000 words. I then tell them to put it away and don’t go back into it until Camp NaNoWriMo which will be held next year,” she said.
That’s when the self-editing will begin.
And she doesn’t believe in writer’s block: “It’s just trying to pull out something that is just not there. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Her own process is simple: produce 5000 words a day, Monday to Friday. Weekends are off.
She’ll be starting a new book next week.
“It’s my job. I do it day in and day out but I also really love it!”