Friday, October 28, 2011

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

If you haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, you're probably not alone. In NaNoWriMo's own words:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down. As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2010, we had over 200,000 participants. More than 30,000 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap: What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.
Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.”

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at 11:59:59. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

This has been on my bucket list for a couple of years. I thought about doing it while I was in law school, but I gave that idea up after about two minutes. After-all, finals for law school were just a few weeks into December. It was insane to think I could write 1666 words per day. (Yes. I've done the math)

However, I think this month might be the golden time to do it. My daughter is big enough she can play on her own, my husband is super busy with school, and I just might need something to keep me busy during that time. So, I'm committing to NaNoWriMo this year! I might not post much on the blog in November, but I'll hopefully have a novel to show for it at the end of the month. Who knows, maybe I'll write the next "Water for Elephants" ---which was in fact written during NaNoWriMo for your information!

I'll try to post excerpts as I go if anyone is interested! They are sure to be riddled with poor grammar and spelling. Wish me luck!


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