Today is September 18, midway through the September and only 43 days until November 1. What’s so special about November 1, you ask? Well, that’s the day that kicks off NaNoWriMo. Or NaNo. Or National Novel Writing Month! Woo! An entire month dedicated to breakneck speed writing. To hell with content and editing, just get those words down on paper. Worry about cleaning up the mess later, preferably AFTER November 30, or the end of NaNo.
Let me explain a little further. National Novel Writing Month is a challenge for all authors and would-be authors designed to kickstart our creative efforts. The goal is to write a novel–60,000 words–in 30 days. What?!? Yes, that’s right, a full novel in a month. And not even a long month either. November is one of the shorter ones with only 30 days. Thank goodness the person who came up with this crazy notion didn’t set it for February.
If you jump over to the NaNo website, you’ll find a pretty elaborate set up. They have forums set up for those of you who find inspiration in online comraderie. They have local moderators, assuming you’re willing to identify where you live, who arrange group writing sessions. These are fashioned after all-night cram sessions made popular by college students everywhere. They even have a nifty word count widget that tracks your progress throughout the month. This little tool is pretty motivating to me. I like seeing the bar move from empty to full.
I attempted NaNo a couple of years ago, but got sidelined by the pesky burdens of real life (imagine something so trivial as family getting in the way of writing. The horors.). I made it about half way through for word count very early in the month, but then had to abandon the project for more practical pursuits, like paying my mortgage. And, in fairness, I am accustomed to writing for purpose, to being edited at some point in the process. When I attempted NaNo, I got so far off course from my original story that I couldn’t imagine how to get back on track without a massive rewrite. I already KNOW I can write a novel against a tight deadline. So what was the point of writing 60k words that would never be published when I could simply slow down, take two or three months, and write one that would.
I’m thinking about giving it a go again this year. I have the uninterupted schedule time available, and I’ve had too many ideas to count roaming around in my head for the past two years. I checked out the website, updated my profile. All that’s left is the writing. And, of course, the massive amounts of plotting and outline that needs to take place prior to NaNo in order to complete the project successfully.
What about the rest of y’all? Thinking about giving NaNo a go-go this time around?