So it’s September. That means only two months between all of us and NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is a worldwide event that takes place every year. Honestly it’s not so much ‘national’ unless the world of authors is now officially a nation. It’s name is often mistaken to stand for National November Writing Month… which I guess is okay since it lets you know when it happens, but it still isn’t the real title.
The goal is to write 50,000 words toward a novel in just 30 days. You can write things for the same novel before November and after November, but you must write 50k words in November to be a true, certifiable winner of NaNoWriMo.
And here’s where people get confused. Winner.
To win NaNoWriMo, you simply copy and paste your 50,000 words into their word counter when you reach the goal. They verify your count and then you are whisked away to a glorious winners page. A video will greet you saying ‘Congratulations!’ and then you have links to click. You can get a free proof copy of your novel from CreateSpace.com. Last year the winners received a 50% off code for the marvelous Scrivener, which I blogged about previously. You also receive access to little icons and banners to post around your internet life to show you met your quota for the month.
Winner, however, do not mean you actually beat anyone else. Anyone who meets the 50k goal is a winner. You only beat the people who didn’t have the time or energy to finish on schedule. No one is going to judge the entries and pick a top story. No one is going to edit or even read these 50,000 words unless you bind and sell them as a novel. To be a winner means you made it. You wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, a feat considered impossible by most people around the world. It means you have the chance to feel proud of yourself, feel like you accomplished something. To win NaNoWriMo means to be one step closer toward a finished masterpiece of your own creation.
Of course it’s only for novel writers. Video editors, painters, and other mediums of creation will need to find their own methods for being kicked into action. For script writers, there’s always ScriptFrenzy in April. I’m rather terrible at scripts, so I’ve never participated in that particular marathon. This past year, NaNo also hosted a ‘summer camp’, which was like a miniature version of NaNoWriMo.
I love NaNo. I’ve competed four years now and only failed once. Of course, I don’t have three novels out, but the point is that I made progress on the stories I was writing. I have plenty of notes, lots of built up ideas, and 50,000 words toward three novels. One of those novels is The Rose Chateau, which is defined in detail on the Purchase tab of my blog. It did, in fact, make it to completion. The final word count for it is 115k, most of which was written after NaNo had ended. I may not have needed NaNoWriMo to push me into writing it, but I used it anyway.
I believe NaNoWriMo is a very helpful and useful way of kicking writers with low ambition into finally cranking out their work. It is a fun and engaging time, although you may grow tired and look like a hermit when it’s all said and done. Grab some friends to try it with you and make a game out of it. Meet new people through Write-Ins with other participants in your region.
Long story short (too late), I highly suggest NaNoWriMo to anyone struggling to get their thoughts on the page. It truly can be a rewarding experience, and the weekly pep-talks will give you plenty to think about.
So who’s going to join me this year for National Novel Writing Month?