November is fast approaching and with it, NanoWriMo. For those of you who have no idea what NanoWriMo is, allow me to offer this brief description. NanoWriMo is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Sound impossible? For some it is the ultimate challenge.
Last year over 100,000 people participated in NanoWriMo with more than 15,000 hitting the 50,000 word mark. Were the 15,000+ novels publishable? Unlikely. In fact few will ever be published but that isn’t the point.
“So what is the point?” you might ask. NanoWriMo certainly has its share of detractors who feel that it is a waste of time. They don’t believe that it creates a writing habit; it’s just a frenzy of writing for 30 days, then nothing.
Let me go on record as saying those detractors have completely missed the point. The point is it gets people writing. Period. There is only as much pressure in the event as people are willing to place on themselves. As mentioned earlier, the quality of the writing isn’t great but so what? Bad writing can be edited. Nothing can be done with words that aren’t there.
That’s great, but so what, right?
Let me tell you what I’ve gotten from the past two NanoWriMo’s.
- I’ve learned that I can write 50,000 words in 30 days. In fact, I’ve learned that I can write 50,000 words in 20 days. That’s only 2,500 words per day on average. To put that into perspective, my first short-story (at 6,000 words) took me 6 months to write. I was always fiddling with it. Fiddling is NOT allowed in NanoWriMo.
- I’ve learned how much fun it is to write a totally unexpected scene. In my first Nano, I wrote a scene that literally brought tears to my eyes. That was the first time I had accomplished such a feat.
- I learned how to write better dialogue. I know it sounds far-fetched, but when you’re typing 60-words-per-minute-stream-of-consciousness and your character says something it can be pretty good. You don’t get a whole lot of extra baggage in the dialogue.
- I learned that writing is a community. It was this realization (thanks to the Municipal liaison) that I started using Facebook and eventually Twitter. It was this realization that took some of the loneliness out of the craft. I still have friends that I met during my first Nano that I chat with.
- I learned that I can write anywhere.
- Finally, I learned to trust myself to stick to a schedule and the value of goals. That’s a big one for me.
If you have any interest in trying out NanoWriMo, go to their site at www.nanowrimo.org and sign up. You have nothing to lose and maybe a novel to gain. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll get a whole lot more from it too.
My newest YA book was rejected last week. That doesn’t bother me so much since I haven’t quite wall-papered that one room yet. What does bother me about it is that I was stupid and didn’t have any backup publishers in the wings to send it to. Timing being what it is, I will have to wait until December to properly send it out since I’ve got World Fantasy Convention this week and NanoWriMo starting Saturday.
…and speaking of the World Fantasy Convention… I’m VERY excited to go this year; it isn’t every year a convention of WFC’s stature is held in your very own city. I’m looking forward to meeting other writers, perhaps agents and even a few Publishers. Fingers crossed that I can make some great connections.