November means NaNoWriMo!

November 3, 2012 § 4 Comments

I have been remiss, dear reader. We are three days into the month of November, and I have not yet plugged National Novel Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo.

I have also been remiss in not giving you all a big THANK YOU for voting up my entry into the StumbleUpon contest. Thanks to you, Pangaea made it into the finals!

There’s a connection between these two things, my novel and NaNoWriMo. And if you guessed that the connection is that I wrote the first draft of Pangaea for NaNoWriMo, you’d be correct!

Although I am not doing NaNo this year (because of Reasons), I am a big fan of the event, and I’ve participated for five years. With one exception, every novel I have completed was born during NaNo.

The goal of NaNo is simply stated but difficult to accomplish: write 50,000 words in 30 days, beginning on November 1 and finishing on November 30. If you do the math, you’ll find that NaNo forces you to write 1,667 words a day, or roughly six and a half typed, double-spaced pages.

It sounds like a lot, I know. And in some respects, it is a lot. The only way to maintain your word count is to write like the wind, and writing like the wind involves gagging that pesky internal editor and giving yourself permission to write crap. The goal is to get that book idea of yours down on paper, not write deathless prose. Don’t worry about it being terrible. It’s going to be terrible, guaranteed. But that’s where the rewriting comes in, and you begin that phase on December 1.

For the month of November, it’s just about getting it all out, beginning to end.

Pangaea was a steaming pile of stolen movie lines, cliche dialogue, cookie-cutter characters, and lackluster exposition at the end of November. But it was a complete story from beginning to end, and one I thought wasn’t too shabby. Several layers of rough covered the diamond, and some of those layers cling to it yet. But it would not be contest finalist if I hadn’t put my butt in the chair on the first of November and started banging on the keyboard.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Likewise, a book of 50,000 words begins with a single word. Head on over to the NaNoWriMo website and check it out. They’ve got a lot of helpful tools and inspiration from a few really great writers. Join up with your local NaNoWriMos for write-ins, or go it alone. Either way, make it a goal to write those 1,667 words every day and you, too, will end up with a first draft of your novel at the end of the month. It’ll be an early Christmas present to yourself.

So are you convinced? Gonna do it? Let me know and I’ll cheer you on!

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