After a month’s absence, I’m happy to be back in #AuthorToolboxBlogHop! As always, check out the main link for lots of other fantastic authors (who wrote awesome things in September as well)!
National Novel-Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo (or just NaNo if you’re me and lazy) is an event that was started 18 years ago by Chris Baty as a way of getting aspiring writers together and helping them actually get some writing done.
The basic concept simple: write 50,000 words in the month of November, and don’t go back and edit anything until you’re done. If you do that, you win. If you don’t, you try again next year.
Ideally, those 50k words should be the beginning of a new project, and that project should be a novel, and you should get to the end of the story by the time you’ve gotten to the end of your words. I always end up breaking at least one of those ideals – usually the one about writing a 50,000-word story instead of writing 50,000 words of a much longer potential story – but it’s useful to keep them in mind. If nothing else, they can give you a sense of what the other WriMos are trying to achieve.
I joined my first NaNoWriMo back in 2007 and failed spectacularly. I didn’t make my next attempt until 2011, but since then I’ve won five out of the six years I’ve participated. (We shall not speak of 2015.) The end results have ranged from pretty decent to absolutely horrible, but I’ve always had fun and I’ve always felt like I learned something from the experience. There’s a sort of a thrill at the end, looking back and seeing what I’ve accomplished – even if that accomplishment is a lot of bad writing.
That having been said, NaNoWriMo is definitely not for everybody. It’s kind of grueling, it eats giant chunks of time out of a month that’s already busy with an American national holiday, and if you don’t know too many other people it can feel sort of isolating. Some people find the commandment against editing freeing, and other people find it distracting and prohibitive.
The way that I’ve found I can enjoy this mammoth undertaking year after year is by remembering to just have fun with it and take every rule and bit of advice with a grain of salt. For anyone who’s a little more curious, though, here’s my take on NaNoWriMo.