Ahhh NaNo. A month and a half away and already starting to get excited and brainstorm a bit. If the term “NaNo” (which is the short form of “NaNoWriMo”) doesn’t mean anything to you – it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The site has a lot of information on what it is and a question section as well, but the introduction sentence is best:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Well, first impression is that 50k isn’t a very big work. I agree with the logic though. It isn’t about having a nice polished piece of work, but a solid body of text that one can craft into a much better end product. It is easier to edit when something is on the page. In practice, it is much harder to hit those target’s than one would think. I certainly found it hard the first year I attempted. I got discouraged and behind in the very first week and ended up abandoning the project. (NaNo ’08) Last year (NaNo ’09), I refused to get discouraged and after a few bumps started to get in the swing of things. I managed to go a little past the 50k mark and finished a couple of days ahead of schedule.
During NaNo I discovered a few things about writing. The biggest single thing was that I really enjoyed the creative process. It is where I decided that I not only am a writer, but want to BE a writer. Also – I found I could write a lot more in a single day than I really thought. For NaNo 2010, I am adding an extra 10,000 words to the basic goal to raise the bar a bit for myself. It rounds out to a nice 2,000 words a day. Not much more for the daily goal than before, but enough to really add up over the course of the 30 days.
Now, I haven’t done a whole lot with the novel I wrote last year. After a couple attempts at editing, I decided to shelve the novel till after this years novel. Then after the 30 days, if I am at a decent stopping point I will shelve that project and pick up the prior years. This way I will be taking a whole fresh approach to the piece. That is the theory at least.
If you enjoy writing and enjoy pressing yourself, but have never tried NaNoWriMo – I encourage you to take a look at it. Sign up for the site in the next month and a half. Check out the forums. Find a couple of writing buddies. (Writing buddies can really help keep you going. The whole, “hey he is 2k ahead of me – I have to get caught up” really does work.)
If you do – get ready – its a blast! You can find my user profile here.