It is coming soon. I am talking about National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. Nanowrimo. The idea is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. The novel can be longer but you have to do 50,000 words in November. That’s close to 1700 words a day. Townie Bastard is doing it. Trudy is doing it. Debbie Ridpath Ohi is drawing comics about it at Will Write for Chocolate (love so much of her work and she has loads of great stuff online). Every year since I first heard of it, I have been “going to” do it. Oh, I’m quite good at “going to”, you know. I had decided I was definitely going to do it this year. I even came up with an idea for a new novel (Nanowrimo rules do not allow you to work on works in progress). Then, I looked at my schedule for November, what I had to get done before November 1st in order to clear some more time in November, thought about the silliness of starting yet another novel when I am writing three as well as editing one and procrastinating editing another, and thought better of it. I have to become more focussed on my projects at hand, not diversify even more. Too bad too because I have a great idea I was so excited about it. I can’t even think about it now as I type or I’ll drift into it and start wanting to write it (I have “creative procrastination”–I come up with new stories and avoid the ones I am working on).

While preparing for Nanowrimo, I found out a surprising fact. It is a little bit controversial. Some people do not like the idea of Nanowrimo. In fact, they are offended by it. Alma Hromic wrote this article and people wrote in and disagreed with her (you have to scroll down a little to see their letters). Hromic was offended by the idea that someone spitting out 50,000 words in a month can call themselves a novelist. Well, the truth is you can call yourself whatever you want. Doesn’t make you it. Lots of people who write books professionally don’t call themselves novelists and lots of people who have never written a word refer to themselves that way. I think many people want to write a novel and I think many people can, maybe not well or maybe quite well, but they can. And what’s wrong with something that encourages you to try? Something that gives you the kick in the butt needed to get going is a great thing. You might try the project and not complete it, realizing you did not really know what was involved with writing a novel. You might sail through and find you have a knack for it.

Everyone, I believe, has a talent and the sad thing is so many of us don’t find out what it is because we don’t try. There are lots of great painters out there who will never pick up a brush. If you think that a novel is hidden in you somewhere and you want to get it out, then consider Nanowrimo. Maybe you will discover you’ve had the ability to do it all along and just needed the push…or maybe you’ll decide you’d like to paint.

4 thoughts on “Nanowrimo

  1. Pingback: This Much is True » Blog Archive » NaNoWriMo and Letting the Muse Take Over

  2. Shannon, when I read the Afterword of Dying Days my first thought was, Shannon should really do NaNo … you obviously have exactly the right writing mindset for it. Too bad about that thesis thing … I can see how that gets in the way of your real life.

  3. Heck, I wrote The Dying Days in just slightly more than a month, and it clocks in at around 93,000 words… and at least some readers out there like it!

    I’m quite sure that a lot of what gets written during NaNoWriMo is junk, but a lot of what gets written over periods of months or even years is junk, too. If even just a tiny percentage of the NaNoWriMo output is worthwhile — or even convinces people that they have what it takes to write a novel, so that they later produce something worthwhile — then it’s a fine endeavour.

    I’d love to take part myself, but I think my supervisor would insist that the only thing I write 50,000 words of in the next month be my thesis…

  4. Yeah, that Alma Hromic article raised quite a bit of discussion during last year’s NaNo. It’s an elitist attitude towards writing that I just cannot wrap my head around. How does someone else writing 50,000 words in a month hurt anyone else’s writing? Does it drive down the value of words?

    I wish you were doing NaNo … partly because almost all the other people doing it locally are about 18 and if I go to a meet, I will feel like everyone’s mom or English teacher. Which, since I am both a mom and an English teacher, is not the end of the world…but still.

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