National Novel Writing Month is November. The idea is to pound out a 50,000-word novel during that 30-day span. Thousands of writers and aspiring writers participate in the event, including me. Each participant can tell you what they get out of it, and each answer might be different. For me, I get a first draft. Of the six years I’ve participated, each of those six first drafts still exist, and what has come of them varies, from book to book. One of them was polished and published. Another was polished (and polished) and is still looking for a publisher. One is darn near done. The second and third drafts fell apart on me at the end, and I’m now working on an ending that I think sings. Once that ending is done, I’ll be revising the rest of the draft. The two remaining first drafts are just first drafts, and rough ones at that. I have a full-time (plus) job, so getting to those will happen someday. Maybe someday soon. But I have those third and fourth drafts to work on, as well as a couple of drafts that weren’t born in November.
I also have a lot of fun. With so many people participating and cheering each other on (word count is published daily, if you enter it, and there are forums and buddy lists, as well as features sponsored by the organizing group), it’s hard not to have fun. The atmosphere is universally positive in my experience, and there isn’t any “real” pressure. You can win (50,000 words by midnight November 30), or you can not win (less than 50,000 words). I’m personally about 50-50 on that goal. Either way, I end up with the words I write, and I have the further fun of moving on from there.
Plus you get to brag about your story. There are places to share synopses or short descriptions, titles, even your idea of what the cover ought to look like. There are also ways to donate, to sponsor programs that encourage children to write, and to purchase merchandise that keeps the organization going.
Some people don’t like the reckless abandon of the blitz. I see their point. It all depends on your approach to first drafts. I personally benefit from letting go of my inner editor for a few weeks just to see what comes of it. Lunging for word count on a daily basis is the best way I’ve found so far to do that. The results are sometimes good, and I’m free to discard the results that are not.
I intend to participate again this year. It’s October, so I’m down to the short strokes of deciding how to spend my NaNo time. Last year was a tough choice, too. But it will be something. And if you also participate, you can certainly send a writing buddy request, and we can see how each other are doing on our word count goals as the month proceeds. Of course, if you’re looking for someone that always meets or beats the 50k goal, and want that sort of competition to keep yourself motivated, I suggest someone else. I’m more the cheering-you-on type, not the let’s-see-who-wins-better type.
But whatever your style, I encourage you to write if you want to. It’s fine to want to have written a novel. It’s more fun to have written a novel. And it’s the most fun to actually be writing a novel. That’s my experience. Let me know if you agree or feel differently.
- National Novel Writing Month – Expectations Vs. Reality #Writer #newbiewriter (blondewritemore.wordpress.com)
- How to Write Good Poetry Really Fast (eastbayexpress.com)
- Writing Is Not Work to be published soon (strangledthoughts.com)
- My Big News This Week (aka, How I Got My Literary Agent) (erinbartels.com)
- 11 tips to “winning” NaNoWriMo (crissilangwell.com)
- Calling all writers! (frelibrary.wordpress.com)
- Fueling the Muse – How to Mentally Prepare for “The Novel” (writingsbykrystol.com)
- Outlining With Note Cards 3: the “Plotting Under Pressure” Method (fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com)
- How Many Drafts Must a Writer Draft? (brevity.wordpress.com)