November is a strange month. The clocks have gone back, the weather starts to turn (or maybe not judging by this week’s weather forecast) and the stores start to break out their seasonal displays, if they haven’t already set them up at the end of July. November is the odd month where nothing really happens; it’s definitely no longer summer and the seasonal craziness of December hasn’t fully set in yet. So what do you do? Write a novel, of course.
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s catchily called, runs throughout November. The idea behind NaNoWriMo is simple: write a 50,000 word novel (roughly 175 pages) in 30 days. A novel in a month? Crazy! Don’t great writers usually take years to hone their craft? Maybe, but NaNoWriMo encourages everyone to load up on caffeine, throw off your worries and just get stuck in.
NaNoWriMo started with a small group of people in San Francisco back in 1999. Last year over 120,000 people took part. The press release for NaNoWriMo states how around 18% of participants finished. But the finishing isn’t everything – it’s mostly the taking part.
If you think about the word count, that’s nearly 2000 words a day which is a lot of writing by any standards. But the beauty of NaNoWriMo is that it encourages participants to write, write, write without any fear of ‘doing it right’ or ‘making it good’. The reckless approach breaks down the traditional barriers to writing; by giving a tight deadline and championing the joy of writing with abandon, NaNoWriMo inspires people to do something they wouldn’t normally do.
Ever wanted to write a novel but never got around to it? NaNoWriMo is a good way to start. You sign up and then come November 1st, you get writing. The website allows you to track your personal progress, and the online element helps with the NaNoWriMo forums acting as a good source of support. As your word count mounts, you’ll find lots of people going through the same challenge, willing to share tips and tricks. If you finish, you go down in the hall of fame, get your sense of personal achievement and who knows, you could even go on to get published like several NaNoWriMo participants have in the past. But even if you don’t finish, you’ll probably have a great time trying.
So fire up your laptops! Sharpen your pencils! Go brew your coffee! As the nights get longer and the weather gets colder, there’s no time like November to live out your wildest ‘reclusive writer’ dreams, and retreat into your imagination.