November is National Novel Writing Month and if you have never heard of Nanowrimo and have always had the urge to write a novel, this is a great opportunity (excuse?) to give it a try with all kinds of kindred spirits to cheer you on.
As of now (3:38pm Pacific Time, Friday, October 23, 2009), 70,186 authors world-wide (including yours truly) have signed up for the 10th year of "30 days and nights of literary abandon."
It's simple, fun, and the prize is the joy of accomplishment. And, it's free. It begins at midnight on Nov. 1 and ends at midnight on Nov. 30. To win, you simply write 50,000 words (175 pages) in that period. The goal, is to write without worrying about plot development, grammar, spelling, continuity, or whether you really know anything about the technical aspects relating to some plot feature.
Each day, you simply cut and paste your days product to nanowrimo and a bot counts your words and deletes it (nobody reads it, evaluates it, critiques it, or keeps it - in fact, if you're concerned about your "baby" they even give you instruction about scrambling your novel before posting to ensure your security. Your total word count is then tracked and if you reach the 50,000 word goal within the allotted time, then you win! Your prize? The satisfaction of achieving a goal. And yes, if you want to cut and paste Wikipedia, you can. But what's the point? Why cheat? There's no "winner." If everyone that joins completes the goal, then everyone wins.
As far as the quality of your novel? You can always go back later and fix those problems, but how often have you started a project and stopped because it was too daunting? Or shuffled it aside never actually quitting, just meaning to get to it "later" when you had more time? Or maybe you've done all the research, have tons of notes (have you ever heard the story about how J.K. Rowlings wrote the Harry Potter books?) but never had the nerve to actually start. Writing a novel is an overwhelming prospect to many of us. Just the thought of writing a short story is enough to make us decide that writing is too hard.
But wait! Look at how many of us are bloggers? What are we doing? What are we? We're writers. To take it further, to write a novel or other kind of book or even to just write for a living, as a professional writer once said, you have to write. Forget writer's block. Forget procrastination. Forget what you feel like doing, or not doing. You have to sit down at your computer and go. Put the fingers on the keys, have a general idea of what you want to say, and start.
And that is what nanowrimo is all about. To make it easier, there are forums, writing buddies to buddy up with, mentors, and write-ins if you're so inclined. The website has lots of helpful hints, ideas, and many cheerleaders.
Full disclosure, this is my first year. My sister who is a writer has been a long time participant and as I am (still) unemployed but now writing almost full-time (blogging, etc.), she has talked me into nano'ing this year. So, if interested, pop on over and sign up. My user name at nanowrimo is Kyra, so if you decide to join and want a writing buddy, let me know and let me know you're one of my blog readers.
Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon.