Every November brings us “National Novel Writing Month.” For just 30 days, aspiring writers around the world try to write a 50,000 manuscript. They sacrifice sleep, errands, laundry, social engagements (except Thanksgiving dinner and possibly Black Friday shopping with friends.) In some ways, NaNoWriMo is the ultimate community builder, the ultimate equalizer.
* No fancy equipment is needed to get started (yes, a computer is helpful, but a pen and plain–or fancy–notebook will work just as well.)
*There is no age requirement. In fact, NaNoWriMo has special programs for young writers.
* You can write anywhere and at any time. There’s no geographic requirement that NaNoWriMo participants live in New York and write from their neighborhood Starbucks.
* Everyone is starting from scratch and staring at a blank page on November 1. (Well, except for all those people who literally spent the last six months planning every single detail of their NaNoWriMo story. Their “story notes” or “pre-prep” writing is essentially a first draft.)
The practicality of NaNo means that participants are pledging, er, planning, to write 1,666 words each day in November. Some people will find that there are days (especially in the beginning because you know — shiny new object) where they will easily surpass that word count. (I’ve seen people post that they wrote 4,000 words in a single day. I do NOT know these people and cannot imagine doing.) Most people though will plod away, working in small increments of writing time 15 minutes here, a half-hour lunch break there. Slowly, the word count will build. The focus of writing and the dedication to being a “writer” will also build in those quiet moments of work.
It is a wonderful way to see if you have what it takes to be a disciplined writer.
Full disclosure, I am NOT committing to 50,000 words this year. I have revisions on a soon-to-be published book that must be finished and a number of freelance assignments that are time dependent and can’t be pushed off. So why did I register? Because I love the community that is NaNoWriMo. I love that so many people are focusing on themselves and, for 30 days, putting their dream of being an author. There is simply no better energy for a writer than the excitement that NaNo generates.
PS: If you’re already signed up for NaNoWriMo 2019, you can feel free to buddy with me. You can find me at FayH123. You can also read my previous NaNoWriMo columns.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Do you have any questions, thoughts? Share them in the comments below.