November. Each year in November, tens of thousands of writers from all over the world chain themselves to their keyboards for the entire month. It’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, and the goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It breaks down to 1667 words per day. Those who finish get bragging rights and a nifty badge to display.
Anyone who ever dreamed of writing a novel can use NaNoWriMo to realize that dream. Beginners can get caught up in the excitement, and with the support of other NaNo-ers, both in real life and on line, and before they know it, they’ve written a book! Experienced writers can use the momentum to help them break some habits that stand in the way of productivity.
Some writers get hung up on making sure each sentence is perfect before moving to the next, so they have a hard time meeting word count goals. In NaNo, there isn’t time to edit. Even if it’s crap, the words have to get on the screen. Editing comes in December. Others have a hard time writing on a consistent basis, but most people have to write every single day in order to complete NaNo. A month of establishing productive habits can be long enough for the old habit to be broken.
Some agents and editors regard NaNo as a waste of time, probably because their inbox is inundated with NaNovels on Dec 1st, sans editing. If I were on the receiving end of all those submissions rife with typos, spelling problems, bad grammar, and plot holes big enought to drive a tank through, I might not be such a fan of NaNo either. Remember, the hard work starts Dec 1st.
This year, I’m using NaNo to finish the stalled first draft of Blood Dragon II. I have around 13k written, so I’ll need 63k total to finish NaNo.
Now, it’s 11:15pm on November 1st, and I still haven’t written my first NaNo2011 word!