November is National Novel Writing Month.(Yep! It was news to me, too.) Writing a novel in a month sounds crazy impossible and recklessly fun.
I saw a post on NaNoWriMo (not-so-short for National Novel Writing Month) on Catherine, Caffeinated (see why it’s good to read other people’s blogs). However, on her post she rants against ‘real writers’ for their scorn of the National Novel Writing Month event and not so much on the event itself. Nevertheless, with the prowess of the internet, I found the website for writers cracked enough to try the endeavor.
The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30. That translates to approximately 1,650 words a day and the story must be all NEW. No revamping a previous novel. No starting with a half-finished manuscript. Having an outline is fine, but one of the main reasons for writing a new story at such an accelerated pace is writing without commitment to any one idea or character. As a writer, you aren’t attached to your creation yet. It’s liberating in its disorientation.
I admit the idea is very provocative; to write a quick and dirty draft as part of a collective effort with no real expectation of success. At any given time I have a half-dozen story ideas in my head. Only a couple become words on a page; two have made it to published works. It is tempting to turn one of my budding narratives into a full fleshed novel. But in the spirit of the exercise, that would be cheating.
I don’t know if I am brave enough to write a novel in 30 days. It won’t take conventional bravery. There is no penalty for ‘failing’. The coordinators of NaNoWriMo can hardly slap my hand if (when) I fall short. However, I dread the anxiety of a self-imposed deadline. I hate when people say ‘I don’t have enough time’ (I am guilty of saying it). Everyone has the exact same amount of time. But being able to commit to 1,000-2,000 words-a-day seems daunting, especially when just 500 words on a weekly posts feels, at times, like a huge (though rewarding) obligation.
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. – NaNoWriMo
Despite self-doubts and second-guessing, I have the beginning of a story in my head. And I am going to start writing it November 1st.
- NaNoWriMo: I’m Only Going To Say This Once, Okay? (catherineryanhoward.com)