The pencils are sharpened (rather, the computers are booted up and the word count has been checked, and re-checked), ideas are flowing, words are flowing. November 30 is a looong way away. Today is Day 3 of NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.
I discovered NaNoWriMo around October 29, 2009 and I started writing on November 1, 2009. I finished around 11:35 PM on November 30, 2009 with just over 50,000 words. Phew. I started with just the hint of an idea–a hint that I was interested in creative writing, a hint of a plot, a hint of a main character, and a hint of a villain. But I pulled it off and ended up with a story with a beginning, middle, and end. This story is now my novel and is over 72,000 words (nearly 200 paperback pages and, according to one agent, just squeaking in at the right length for a commercial paperback).
I loved NaNoWriMo. I found it inspiring, encouraging, hard work, and, at times, like a runaway train. Best of all, it showed me that I can write a long story from start to finish. I was surprised to read a blog posting this morning that doesn’t necessarily dissuade writers to join the challenge, but certainly lets you off the hook if you don’t want to do it or get discouraged halfway through.
NaNoWriMo is voluntary. I repeat: voluntary. Of course you can quit halfway through. Maybe the story idea fizzles out; maybe you get the flu; maybe you get cross-eyed from staring at the computer: There are a lot of reasons to quit halfway through.
But for those NaNoWriMo-ers that are just reaching 5,000 words by this evening, stick with it! Since committing myself to writing full-time, I have found my biggest challenge is actually sitting down at the computer and working–be it writing or editing– for hours at a time. Distractions abound! (My home has never been cleaner. Baked goods have never been more plentiful.) NaNoWriMo plays the role of the employer, the agent, the publisher: NaNoWriMo is the deadline task master. When else will you write 50,000 pages and a story from start to finish in one month?
Go for it! Write! Buckle down! 1,666 words a day! You can do it!