Right, so NanoWriMo – who’s up for it?
I think I’m going to give it a bash this year. I did it last year, I actually finished it, but – don’t tell anybody, this is strictly between you and me – I haven’t touched the manuscript since.
Wait, you’re saying, back the hell up. What are you talking about?
I’m talking about National Novel Writing Month. Look, it’s got a nice logo and everything.
Basically, every November writers are given the task of writing a 50,000-word novel within the month. That works out, I believe, at 1,666 words in a day, which is an achievable goal even if you have a job, a family and a crippling addiction to GTA5.
So what happens is, you sit down at your keyboard, or with your fountain pen, and you let the words come out in which ever way they seem fit.
What you don’t do is judge your own work. The aim is just to go for it. Get words down on a page, one after the other in the usual way, and don’t look back. Try not to handicap yourself all the time by repeatedly toiling over the same sentence, just keep moving forward, beat on. You’ll write plenty of shit – I guarantee that – torturous sentences and scenes that go nowhere fast. Random characters may just wander in and out of your story without you having the faintest clue who they are. But it’s a loose first draft, so it doesn’t matter.
The aim is just to keep going. Just let go of the pain and get to the finishing line, which is 50,000 words. That’s 1,666 words a day, remember. I’m not the kind of person who is comfortable with seat-of-his-pants writing, so I’ve been thinking about my story. I know the beginning and I know my protagonist and I kind of know where he’s going to end up – but not much more than that. I’m just going to see where it all goes when I start writing.
What I’ll end up with is, of course, only a first draft. I’ll probably read it back and weep, but then I cry my eyes out at mostly everything I write. But, if I can get to the finish line on November 30, it’ll be 50,000 words more than I had at the beginning of the month, and then I can chisel an excellent crime thriller novel from it. Unless I stick it in a drawer and not touch it again. Which won’t happen this year. Nope, no way.
Ahem, moving on.
NaNoWriMo began all the way back in 1999, when 21 people took part. Now there are hundreds of thousands of people writing all over the world in November, notching up billions of words. A number of books have been published after being started during NaNWriMo, but not perhaps as many as you think. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was one, apparently.
But that’s not the point. The point is, it gets you writing. And, who knows, you may just keep going into December and never stop writing, ever.
So if you’ve always wanted to pen your procedural or your epic about an inter-dimensional heist, NaNoWriMo is your chance. There are plenty of forums at the site, and there are also meet-ups you can attend where you can proudly boast about your word-count. Here’s where you can sign up.
Who’s doing it – anybody?