It’s that time of year again, when I decide between participating in NaNoWriMo or maintaining my sanity.
For those who don’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. It is a fabulous organization which seeks to promote writing by any means possible. That is, just write. Don’t try to come up with the next great novel, don’t worry about spelling, don’t edit, leave characters flat, threads dangling and plots filled with holes if you have to, just write.
The goal of NaNo is to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That breaks down to an average of 1,667 words per day. But that is only how you “win” NaNo. The other goal is just to get people writing, for all those who have ever had the slightest inkling that they might want to write a story but always have some reason why they don’t.
This urges you to cast off any inhibitions and ignore any rules you’ve ever heard for the sake of getting words on paper. As a friend of mine says, you can edit crap, you can’t edit nothing, so get something on the page, even if it’s crap, because then at least you have something to work with.
From NaNo’s About page:
The rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…
- Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
- Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
- Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
- Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
- Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
- Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.
So that’s it, that’s NaNoWriMo. Write a novel, do it in a month.
I’ve participated in NaNo for several years. It’s always a good excuse to really push myself, but I can never quite stick to the principle of write freely with wild abandon and care not how bad it is. I edit as I go, something you’re urged not to do. I just can’t help it. It’s how I write. As a result, I’ve never actually ‘won’. I’ve gotten close two years, but never hit 50,000.
This year, with my already failing goal to do something creative every day (which as always, started out really strong but has faltered as my life has gotten busier and busier) I feel like this would be yet another year where I see my word count fall pitifully behind daily goals until November 30th rolls around and I’m 20,000 words shy (but if you’re smart, you’ll look at it as 30,000 words further than I was November 1st!).
Sigh. I’m going to torture myself with this again, aren’t I?
Alright. I’ll do NaNo again.
And as always, November 1st and I don’t know what I’m going to write yet. I *knew* I should have written down that idea last night when I had it…