My best friend started the countdown last night – four hours and some minutes. Unfortunately she was only off by a day. But now, in a little less than four hours, I’ll start writing the first draft of my next novel as part of the National Novel Writing Month extravaganza.
NaNoWriMo is a project from the Office of Letters and Light, a San Francisco bay-area nonprofit organization. The point of NaNoWriMo is to write long fiction at a fast and furious pace. The goal is to produce 50,000 new words between November 1 and November 30.
For many struggling novelists, finding time to write is the biggest challenge. During NaNoWriMo, a writer is encouraged to spew words on the page, always moving forward without editing or censoring. This actually leads to impressive output as long as one isn’t daunted by the daily goal of 1,667 words. I find it helps to use resources like A Writer's Book of Days by Judy Reeves to avoid writer's block and unlock creativity in surprising ways. I sometimes create a fortress of inspiration just to keep failure at bay.
This will be the sixth year I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo; after sputtering starts in 2005 and 2007, I’ve come up with three straight winner years in 2009, 2010, and 2011. I pitched a revised version of the novel written in 2009 at this year's Romance Writers of America National Conference and had an editor at a major publishing house request the full manuscript!
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, ‘maybe I should write a book’, I suggest you give this NaNoWriMo a try. As an added benefit, friends and family who wouldn’t tolerate a loved-one disappearing for months at a time more easily accommodate a single month of writing madness -- as long as the writer promises to pick up chores or childcare again come December 1. Hope to see you in the Winner’s Circle this year!