Tuesday, November 2, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

I suppose I should have done this post yesterday and The Rally to Restore Sanity post today seeing as yesterday was November 1st and the kickoff of National Novel Writing Month and today is election day but oh well. What's done is done.

National Novel Writing Month (otherwise known as NaNoWriMo) or "Thirty days and nights of literary abandon" asks writers to pen 50,000 words in the month of November--the equivalent of a novel-length piece.

Sure it seems to prioritize quantity over quality but part of being a writer is creating--and adhering--to a schedule and getting words on the page. This challenge certainly ensures that. There's no time for writer's block. YOU.MUST.WRITE.

One of my English professors used to say that there are two types of writers: those who meticulously write word by word and those who make a mess and clean it up later. I'm not suggesting that what you write during NaNoWriMo is a mess but often revision is when the real writing happens so as I see it, this challenge, celebration, or whatever else you'd like to call it, helps you get to that next important step.

Even if you can't commit to 50,000 words then I encourage you to pick another ambitious target and stick with it. I for one have a trip abroad and not one or two but three Thanksgiving dinners to attend and limited computer access over much of this coming month.

I am, however, inspired by the enthusiasm on the Web and yesterday's posting that 55 million new words exist in the world now that didn't previously thanks to NaNoWriMo. Characters were born, alliances were made, conflict brewed.

If you adhere to NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words over the 30 days of November that's an average of at least 1,667 words a day so my goal is every day I have computer access, I need to write at least that much. Sure it won't get me to 50,000 this month but it will be me a lot closer to a completed first draft and certainly hitting 50,000 in December. Pick your goal or officially sign up to embark on the NaNoWriMo challenge.

In a time when we hear about just how much television everyone watches, it's exciting to see how many people are turning the tube off and the laptop on (even if it simply means your Tivo is getting quite a workout this month)!

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