November 1st marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The object of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, starting on the first of November, and ending on November 30th. It's the brain child of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called National Novel Writing Month (formerly known as the Office of Letters and Light). National Novel Writing Month promotes writing fluency, creative education, and the sheer joy of novel writing through a variety programs focused towards K-12 education.
Every November, writers from across the globe buckle down before their respective keyboards in an attempt to write approximately 1,667 words a day. Groups of writers come together in restaurants, cafés, and bookstores for write-ins where they motivate each other, encourage each other, and, most importantly, write. The month of November creates communities that other wise would never exist as the single shared goal of writing 50,000 words. A daunting task made easier by the comradery of friends and strangers that only comes from facing a challenge together.
I've participated in NaNoWriMo for the past couple of years, and I am ashamed to say that I never reached 50,000 words. It is far harder than you might think, especially for someone like me who is easily distracted. For a writer like myself, who will often agonize over a single sentence for hours, NaNoWriMo is particularly challenging. The thing that I often forget during November is that it is not about having a polished manuscript at the end. It is just about having 50,000 words.
In the past, I've tried to tackle NaNoWriMo on my own. I've been to one or two local write-ins, but for the most part, my efforts have been solitary. This year, I'm trying something different. There are four writers in the Wilmington Writers Group who are making the attempt this year. We have formed a coalition of sorts with planned write-ins throughout the month. The idea is to help eahc other stay motivated and on target.
Despite having failed twice in the past, I'm feeling pretty stoked about this year's NaNoWriMo. Will I reach my goal of 50,000 words this year? It's too soon to tell. Maybe this Wilmington Writers NaNoWriMo Group (WWNNWMG, bit of a mouthful) will be the catalyst to help push me over the edge. We'll have to wait and see. But, I'm counting on Mike, Ellie, Paul, and Maggie to keep me encouraged when I'm falling behind.
To sign up for this year's NaNoWriMo, or for more information about the programs offered to schools and libraries by National Novel Writing Month, click here.
So, who's in for writing a novel in 30 days? Any takers?