Maggie Smith / Uncategorized

Not Your Typical Write-Off (Maggie Smith)

If you have a passion for writing, November may be the perfect month for you. It’s National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org). The challenge is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Since the novel is to be written in such great haste, it’s not expected to be a work of genius. In fact, the NaNoWriMo website itself says, “the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output.” Subject matter does not make any difference. Write fanfiction of your favorite TV show, write the story of your life, write a soap opera, write several novels… it doesn’t matter. It’s all in the name of fun and reaching a goal that you have set for yourself.

Fifty thousand words in 30 days works out to be about 1,667 words in a day, which is manageable if you divide your time and word count into small chunks. Writing just 200 words in the few moments of spare time you get with a pen and paper or keyboard may get you through the required word count faster.

What NaNoWriMo is really about, though, is camaraderie between fellow writers. There is no other writing event like it in that many crazy writers are all writing alongside each other and cheering each other on. The event is not a competition pitting writers against each other to see who can write the most words in the least amount of time. NaNoWriMo was designed because there are so many people out there who say they would like to write a novel someday, but are unwilling to find the time or incentive to get started. And all you really need to write a novel is to just get started. NaNoWriMo advocates putting your “inner editor” in a box for the entire month of November so that you are free to write whatever you like without your voice of doubt getting in the way. After your novel has been finished, then you can feel free to edit and polish it all you like.

NaNoWriMo is also a regional activity that can be done with friends, taking the myth of the “solitary novelist” and turning it on its head. Many of the major metropolitan areas of the United States have their own group pages, so you can attend “write-ins” (in which a whole bunch of wannabe novelists get together with frightening amounts of coffee and their laptops or pens and paper).

All in all, NaNoWriMo is a fun thing to try, especially since you know you’ve always wanted to write a novel. Whether you only write 500 words in November, the full 50,000 words, or even 100,000 words, you should feel pleased that you’ve gotten just that much of your novel down — and you’ll have something to edit, work on and quite possibly submit for publication someday.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a novel to write!

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