Did you know November is National Novel Writing Month? Seriously, it is. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) is a movement of writers in which participants aim to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30. Some writers use this time to begin new works, some aim to write an entire novel in that time, while others use the motivation to finish works in progress. And yes, for the first time, I’m one of them.
I first heard about NaNoWriMo a few years ago and thought it was crazy. Why would you want to try to write an entire novel in a month? What kind of quality could you possibly get out of that? In some cases, it’s gotten a bad rap because of writers who think they’re done after that month, who submit to agents or self-publish without going through the rigorous editing process that turns an average novel into something truly great.
But what I didn’t realize then is that it’s more about the discipline, motivation and the support from your local writing community than it is the word count (in my opinion). I had no idea there were local events and that other writers would be there to encourage me along the way. But so far, so good. Here’s how my NaNoWriMo activities are shaping up:
- Last Sunday, I attended my local pre-kick off party and met writers who are just starting out, as well as those who have been hammering away at novels for a long time – writers from every genre, including erotica, sci-fi, horror and fantasy.
- Tomorrow, I’m going to a workshop on Scrivner software.
- Starting on November 3, I’m going to structured writing events at local coffee shops every Saturday and Sunday. All I know about these is that you write for several hours straight, surrounded by your fellow novelists.
- On November 17 comes the big “write in,” a seven hour writing marathon at a local library that I’m told is much like lock-ins in high school. You can’t leave, but with that much creativity swirling around, who’d want to?
- In between, I’ll be writing on my own time, but I doubt I’ll get much done at night during the week. My goal is maybe 500 words per night a few times during the week. (I write all day for my job and when I get home, my brain declares a strike.)
- In December, after it’s all over, we’re having a party to celebrate everything we’ve collectively achieved.
My goal isn’t as much about the word count (although I love the idea of winning), as it is trying my hardest. My dream is to finish the first draft of Book 2, which means about another 80,o00 words. But as I’ve been outlining my next several sections, the story is getting more and more complex, so I’ll be happy with however much I get done. I’m really looking forward to the extra motivation and having somewhere outside of home means I might actually do it, rather than deciding the laundry or dishes need to get done first. If you want to follow my progress, there’s a little counter on the right navigation that will start counting my words on November 1 and update as I include them in the NaNoWriMo system.
If you’d like to play along, please sign up. You don’t have to “win” (reach 50,000 words) to be successful. Personally, I’m proud of anyone with the guts to try.
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, what are your tips for success? If not, what do you think about the idea?