For a lot of people, November doesn't just mean the beginning of the holiday season or that time of year when it gets darker out. There are many of us who look forward to November with nervous anticipation. November 1 means it is time to write a novel in 30 days.
30 days? Not possible, you say.
Well... It is possible! It is very possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days, which is what the National Novel Writing Month challenge, NaNoWriMo, is all about.
Started almost twenty years ago by founder Chris Baty, his fun personal challenge has become a world-wide event. There are writers scattered across almost every continent. One of the most fun things about NaNoWriMo is the friendships and conversations that develop over the month of the challenge. I have been very lucky to make some amazing, long-lasting friendships through my NaNoWriMo participation. Treehouse Society's Jenny is one of those friends.
I've participated for 13 years. Once you get started, it is hard to stop. My first year I had no idea that there was a whole community both locally and internationally to meet up with and commiserate with.
Now I know to look forward to the annual Kick-Off Party, the weekly get togethers (write-ins) where people gather in cafes to write, and the Thank Goodness It's Over Party, usually held the first weekend in December. There is also a website; www.nanowrimo.org, where people can get advice on every aspect of their novel, figure out when local events are happening, and procrastinate by reading the hundreds of different forum threads.
November becomes a month of meeting new people, trying to juggle work, regular life and the daily task of writing at least 1,667 words. This is not high quality literature, but I cannot overstate just how absolutely fun it is to try to write a novel in such a compressed amount of time. Some Wrimos (one of many nicknames for participants) spend a lot of time outlining and planning their novels. Others start with a blank page each November 1 and hope for the best. Both methods have their pros and cons. It is always interesting to see how awry a plan can go, or how a random thought can blossom into an amazing story.
I have written hundreds of thousands of words since my first year participating. Not everything is amazing but I often find a sentence or an idea that inspires further thought and work, and that makes the challenge that much more worthwhile.
The last 8,000 words of a novel I wrote several years ago became a short story which was published in 2014. The novel I am working on 'in real life' stems from a character who randomly appeared in my 2014 November project.
The art of 30 day noveling is not for everyone. It is easy to fall behind on your word count. It is easy to lose heart and despise what you've written. But there is no better feeling than reaching 50,000 words on November 30th.
Our regional group will be celebrating the end of NaNoWriMo with a get together at Treehouse Society on December 2, from 2 PM to 4:30 PM.
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