Tuesday, October 21, 2008

50,000 words in 30 days. Spit in the face of writer's block.

Yep, it's that time of year again. November will be a hectic, glorious symphony of clacking keys, sips from coffee cups, taps of fingertips, and cries of frustration (or joy, depending...).

This will be my second year as a NaNoWriMo participant, and I'm already counting down. In fact, as of today, there are just ten more days left until NaNo '08 kicks off!

If you aren't signed up and want to join in the noveling fun, there's still time! And because I encourage everyone to sign up, yes even those of you who have never written much before but enjoy it, I'm going to include the "What is NaNoWriMo?" blurb right here! So you can check it out without having to take the time to click on link after link to find out. So here you are:

What is NaNoWriMo?

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.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

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.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So, to recap:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Still confused? Just visit the How NaNoWriMo Works page!

So there you have it! Join! Write! Revisit your coffee and/or Red Bull addiction! Pull out some hair! And walk away with something written that wasn't there before! Whether or not you manage the full 50,000 matters not! Trying is half the fun, and take it from someone who's been there before, it's a great way to get those creative writing juices flowing!

If you sign up and want to befriend me (as if anyone wouldn't!) my username is "get_skittled". Add me. I will add you. We can mutually discuss how good or bad our novels are coming. It'll be a grand old time!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Four more days. *pops her neck* Four more days.
Bring it, Nano.