NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, is a creative writing project which challenges you to write 50,000 words of a new novel in November.
Purists will note that 50,000 words is a relatively low number for a complete novel. True, but it’s longer than a novella and before you get all hoity-toity, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby has 50,061 words and that’s good enough for me.
For others who recall with dread the agony it took to write a two page essay in school, 50,000 may seem like a lot of words. It is. Nearly 1,700 words per day. That’s one of the main reasons I’m embarking on it again this year. It creates a discipline for writing every day.
People who have read my blogs, newsletters and books over the last seven years tend to think of me as a motivational writer, since much of my work deals with leadership, goals and upbeat ways of tackling challenges. I’ve never considered myself a fiction writer. For some reason I fail to count the half dozen spec screenplays, the flash fiction, short stories, poetry and prose I’ve written over the years as part of my bona fides. For one month a year, NaNoWriMo changes that.
Anecdotally I’d guess 75% of the people I know either consider themselves writers or regularly talk about wanting to write. Of that number maybe half write with any regularity. Call me old fashion, but I think a prerequisite for writers is that they write. By commiserating and celebrating with other active writers who struggle over managing goals, deadlines, and their inner critic I’m able to summon my strengths from both worlds.
The goal is not to have a completed novel in a month. The goal is to place 50,000 words on a page in 30 days. It’s not about judging if there’s a good enough story worth being told. Having something to edit and refine, ideas to massage and themes to evolve comes later, after it’s done. The point now, is to begin.
In November my social media streams may act as a mood ring. I’ll share the status of the goal and any troubles, tribulations and insights. If you’re involved with NaNoWriMo, consider me a helpful friend who shares in your endeavor. If you’re not a writer, or couldn’t give a crap, that’s fine, simply tune out. I do hope you’ll stick around and see what happens in this word driven laboratory, because as I pursue my goal, you may pick up some hints to accomplishing your own.