November is a busy month for Americans. Thanksgiving is the big holiday, and usually involves lots of family, friends and food−quite the social occasion. As a writer, November is even busier than for others, because it’s also National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and those of us who choose to participate will find themselves frantically typing away in every spare moment available.
Last year was my first at attempting to complete the challenge: 50,000 words in 30 days. I failed, losing steam at just over 8,500 words. I have an excuse, as life had decided that last November was the best time to wallop me with a few challenges of its own, but I’m not going to dwell on that. The experience, although abbreviated, was a good one, so I will be charging ahead again this year.
Another of last year’s failings was in the preparation stage, as I began without an outline. I tried to produce one on the fly, but that proved less than ideal. Lesson learned, I am spending the month of October outlining, hoping I will be ready to begin hammering out words come November 1st.
On paper, the challenge doesn’t look too difficult: 50,000 words in 30 days would amount to just 1,667 words a day. Heck, my daily warmups are at least 750 words, and I usually produce that in under half an hour, and I’m a slow typist. Of course, I will need to take some days off. If I figure I take the weekends off, including the Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving, I am left with 20 days instead of 30. And writing prose in a novel is a little bit more time consuming than the free-writing of my warmups. And….
Yeah, I actually get all wrapped up in these kinds of mental exercises, all in the name of making myself believe that this is actually an easy challenge.
Taking Up the Gauntlet
Are you interested in the challenge? If you head over to the NaNoWriMo web site after October 10, you can sign up, create a profile, and peruse the available forums. A note of warning, though: the forums can be a source of distraction throughout the month. I recommend keeping away from them when November begins and the clock starts ticking.
There’s also a buddy list you can fill with fellow writers from around the world* who are seeking both encouraging souls and souls in need of encouraging. There are even meet-ups scheduled with local writers, so you can assure yourself that there are actual, living, breathing writers like you living nearby.
The whole reason for all of this is to get those “someday I’m gonna write a book” people to do just that: write a book! Fifty thousand words seems like a lot, but it is actually a smallish novel—I figure mine will probably end at closer to 75,000 words—and you don’t actually have to finish your novel to win the challenge; just 50,000 words of it.
I didn’t get anywhere near the goal last year, but I still consider the experience a success, since I did produce nearly 9,000 well before the month was over. And also because I took up the gauntlet, whatever the result.
* Although it’s called National Novel Writing Month, participants participate in the challenge from all over the world.
- National Novel Writing Month (wingsoverwaters.wordpress.com)
- Writing a Book (laurieanichols.wordpress.com)
- Have you done this before? (jhyoung.wordpress.com)
- Doing and Winning NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in Germany (amandapoverseas.wordpress.com)
- Nano Wrimo Redraft Time (loveofwords52.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo: The Continuing Saga (That No One Cares About) (jessicapingle.wordpress.com)