A blog post that I stumbled upon had the author congratulating herself for completing a novel-writing contest that left her invigorated, inspired, and feeling mighty proud. I visited the contest website mainly because the name sounded silly. But what I became intrigued by was NaNoWriMo’s reason for existence: encouraging writers to spend an entire month writing a novel, knowing full well that much of it won’t amount to anything. In fact, they say “that’s a good thing.”
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Twelve years ago a group of 21 friends decided to spend a month writing novels while having delirious fun. By 2010, these friends had 200,000 people join them in their challenge to write a 50,000-word novel during the 30 days of November. NaNoWriMo has become an annual event with participants from around the world.
This is so interesting to me. It is the first major writing site I’ve come upon that prompted me to think “maybe I can.” This 30-day, free-form blast calls for words, words, and more words. There’s no worry about quality; the editing comes later. NaNoWriMo is about taking the first steps toward creating the novel that you and I keep putting aside for another day. The writing challenge invites you to take risks, make mistakes, and get frustrated. In other words, dear writer, just get started.
What’s also impressive about the site is the many helps available to those who sign up for the writing challenge. Bestselling writers send email pep talks to participants throughout the month; the forums page has a slew of topics which hit all types of writing styles, tips, and resources; and there are opportunities to find other “wrimos” who live in your area. The whole site reads with humor, which is a breath of fresh air for a new writer like me.
So, I did it: I took the leap and signed up. Several months ago an idea for a novel came to mind and this challenge will be the perfect way to get it started. NaNoWriMo isn’t designed to produce excellent writing, but it will produce the foundation for what could become an excellent work.
Could this also be a way for you to jump-start your novel? Visit the NaNoWriMo site and let me know your thoughts. This November could be the month that we’re inspired to take that first step.
Question: Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, how was your experience with it?