In case you haven’t heard, it’s NaNoWriMo … or National Novel Writing Month. If you’ve got a novel in you, waiting to be set free, this is the time to do it.
NaNoWriMo is a month-long marathon writing event. The goal for participants: write a 50,000-word novel (the equivalent of a 175-page book) between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. Think quantity, not quality.
You can’t use any previously written passages, but you can refer to outlines, character sketches and research. Oh yeah, and you have to do it all by yourself. No co-authors.
Then between Nov. 25 and Nov. 30 upload your novel to the NaNoWriMo site for word-count validation. Everyone who hits the 50,000-word mark is declared a winner. You’ve done it! You’re a novelist.
This is all about churning out copy and quieting your internal editor. Speaking from experience, it is much easier to go back and edit what’s already on the page than to fret over every word and seek perfection in every paragraph before moving to the next.
NaNoWriMo started in 1999, and last year more than 120,000 people participated. More than 20,000 of them crossed the finish line with 50,000 words in hand. The NaNoWriMo web site has discussion forums, a word count scoreboard, and a Procrastination Station – which is a great time killer for anyone, writer or not.
I’ve never actually participated, and I’ll be honest, it’s a little daunting. I guess it would be a great way to flesh out that book idea that’s been floating around in my head for a couple of years. Maybe next year I’ll take the challenge.
What about you? Ever tried it or know anyone who has?