National Novel Writing Month is upon us! For years I’ve watched my friends and fellow-writers type themselves ragged during November. And while I’ve been a little envious of the tens of thousands of words they wrote that month, I comforted myself with the thought that NaNo was prioritizing quantity over quality, and while maybe I wasn’t writing four or five thousand words a day, certainly the teensy trickle of fiction I managed to produce was much more polished. But between you and me? I wasn’t writing enough fiction to bother polishing. Polish, elegance, articulation, writing beautiful words? None of those are actually a concern unless we’re producing a fairly significant number of words in the first place.
November 2010 will mark the twelfth NaNoWriMo event. Originally a Bay-area event started by a bunch of friends, NaNoWriMo is now a rather huge online extravaganza. From their History page:
I think the scene—full of smack-talk and muffin crumbs on our keyboards—would have rightly horrified professional writers. We had taken the cloistered, agonized novel-writing process and transformed it into something that was half literary marathon and half block party.
We called it noveling. And after the noveling ended on August 1, my sense of what was possible for myself, and those around me, was forever changed. If my friends and I could write passable novels in a month, I knew, anyone could do it.
The goal of NaNo is to write. Write every day in November. Write a LOT every day. Write with abandon. Write as hard and as fast as you can, without censoring yourself, editing yourself, or holding yourself back—and without taking yourself so terribly seriously that you cripple your own creative process. That tends to be one of my own weaknesses, especially when it comes to writing fiction.
So this year, I’ve signed up for my very first NaNo. I’m challenging myself to commit, get serious, and produce some words.
How about you? Up for NaNo? Done it before? Doing it again? Curious enough at least to go read about How It Works? If I can make the time and take the challenge, I know you can. See you there?