An email I received recently opened with “Happy NaNoWriMo!” I’ll bet most of you (well, some of you, anyway, depending on how many people are actually reading this blog), didn’t know about this particular celebration.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It isn’t the type of celebration recognized by national or local governments. NaNoWriMo is a project that was started in 1999 by Chris Baty in the San Francisco Bay Area (I got all that from Wikipedia, folks). A bunch of writers got together and decided to take advantage of the foul November weather by writing Novels.
The idea is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, which could be an entire short novel or at least a hefty start to a longer one. Participants register on the website, NaNoWriMo.org, and keep track of how many words they complete (50,000 words in a month comes out to 1667 per day). If you complete 50,000 words by November 30, you’re a winner! What do you win? Self-respect and a feeling of accomplishment. Woo hoo! Well, and they provide a printable certificate. They don’t judge the novels or anything like that.
One of my online friends mentioned she was doing it this year, and asked if anyone else was — so I signed up. I think there are seven of us doing it.
Because you’re probably going to ask — I’m calling it a science fiction novel for now, although that might not be the best description in the end. It’s about a mother and daughter who end up being kidnapped and used for a nefarious government project.
The idea is to Just Write. You’re not supposed to stop to edit or think about it too much. That’s for December. That’s also hard for me. I tend to self-edit as I go along, choosing words carefully, and changing things as I go. I’m trying to break that habit, at least for this go-round.
NaNoWriMo is a bit of a commitment, but I think it will be fun and helpful. I’ve been kicking this novel idea around for a while, but wasn’t making it a priority. Now I have an excuse to make it a priority.