Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Novel in a Month -- Ready, Set, Go!

November is National Novel Writing Month. Seriously. A whole month dedicated to writing 50,000 words.

My local paper featured an article on this because 14 people in my area actually did this last year. Durango’s pretty darn small. What’s up with those 14 people?

The NaNoWriMo web site (I’m not making this up) explains the effort this way: Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly. Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with 21 writers. In 2008, there were 119,301 writers and 21,683 reached the 50,000-word minimum by November 30. (You have to register and then upload your work by that date to qualify as a winner.)

Many of these writers went on to successfully publish their books (after some editing and rewriting, of course).

I’m intrigued by the idea yet don’t want to stop writing on my current novel for an entire month. (Rules say you can’t jump in with a work in progress because you’re already too attached to it.)

Yet, what a great way to throw caution to the wind and write without emotional investment. I’ll let you know if I decide to try this. What about you? Interested?


  1. Yes! Or, Maybe! I'm writing about it in tomorrow's post. If I do take it on, I'll break the rules, and maybe you should too?

  2. Seems to me that only lunatics would subject themselves to that kind of torture... so yeah, I guess I'm game!

  3. Hey, Mandy! The older kids and I have done NaNoWriMo for the past several years. It's a LOT of fun! (And we have the t-shirts to prove it. ;-))


  4. Mandy, Since both you and Deonne have brought this up...I am sorely tempted! I might go insane in the process, however...a guess that's always a risk.
    -- Michelle

  5. I guess I'm game....but I'm commitment-phobic. Does that mean once I say I'm going to, I HAVE TO?? But, seriously, I would really like to write a book...if for no other reason than to know that I can do it...

    Let me know more about it!!


  6. Well, fewer than 18 percent of those who *attempt* NaNoWriMo reach 50,000 words. But I like Deonne's approach which is to make the experience your own. Set some goals. Above all else, write, write, write. OUTPUT versus QUALITY. I'm still waffling on what I want to do with NaNoWriMo but it will be something. :)

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