The NaNoWriMo cometh

I’ve been writing books for about three years now and I feel ashamed to say that I didn’t know about NaNoWriMo. November is “National Novel Writing Month”; a phenomenon that started about 14 years ago. Yes, it’s relatively new but I feel like I should have known about this. What’s more, I’ve discovered a whole website (where the NaNoWriMo comes from) that encourages and empowers any would-be or ambitious writer to finish a novel in a month by tracking progress via their website.

So here’s the deal: the competition asks that you write at least 50,000 words; a standard for short novels. But you must complete this task within the 30 day period of November. Gulp. If you break it down, that’s about 1,600 words a day. This post alone will be less than 400 words. Double gulp.

That’s a tall order for anybody to commit to. But in the spirit of competition, I’m going for it. And why not? Practice refines one’s skills. And what better way to practice than to put yourself to the test, right? In eight short days, I’ll be doing it.

On the plus side, I’ll have a group of fellow writers helping to keep me accountable. That’s a positive. On the negative end, some of us may lose hope, time, or focus to make it to the finish line. Here’s hoping none of that bad stuff happens. I know there are plenty of nay-sayers who are against writing a novel in a month, but I find this to be intriguing. So again – why not?

As I continue my search for representation, I realize more and more how I need to keep my head in the game. And a huge part of that is having structure; having clear goals; having a sense of completedness. As a writer, it’s easy to fall prey to “when I get around to it.” Anyone else who writes regularly can relate. Heck, anybody with goals can relate. That’s why competitions like NaNoWriMo are extremely helpful to aspiring writers. It provides a forum, a challenge, and a goal. Just what the doctor ordered.

And for the unstructured writer, it’s the perfect storm to stay on course.

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