You think writing a novel is an arduous, nearly impossible task? Try doing it in a month!
That is exactly what the organizers of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) propose every single year in the month of November- write an entire novel in 30 days. It sounds crazy but has grown from 21 participants when it launched in 1999 to tens of thousands of participants these days with billions of words written, every November. Participants isn’t technically correct. The word I should be using is ‘winners’, a term used to designate anyone who meets the goal of 50,o00 words in the 30 allotted days. Thousands of winners emerge victorious every year, some brand new ‘novelists’ and others more seasoned veterans.
The NaNoWriMo indirectly contributed the novel that I wrote a few years back. I had always wanted to write one, but I didn’t really get the motivation until I read a book by the NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty called No Plot? No Problem! I put the book down and almost literally put my fingers to the keyboard. I wrote like a madman, unintentionally averaging about 50,000 a month. I called it Gold Stars (edited it for a year), slapped it on the side bar of Easy Journaling and am tickled pink every time one of you buy it.
Sound like NaNoWriMo? Well, not exactly since I wrote 100,000 words in two months and the months were from July to September. I went above and beyond but still cannot be considered a ‘winner’.
And herein lies my dilemma with the decade old movement; it puts rules around a process that shouldn’t have rules. It is telling right brained people to do a right brained thing left brained.
On the other hand, what else gets so many people to meet a life goal of writing a novel? It floods the world with creativity and almost more plots than there are readers! It brings personalities from different backgrounds together in a common cause. I think that aspect of it is great.
There are thousands that have benefited and will continue to benefit from NaNoWriMo. Bravo to them. Bravo to you if you are a participant who is taking a break from your first day of writing.
But as for me, I will write my next book when it strikes my fancy. And when the plot is finished, I will be finished, regardless if the word count is 40k or 140k.
What about you? Is NaNoWriMo the best thing that ever happened to you or too rigid for your liking?