“Are you crazy?” Is usually the response I get when I mention I’m taking part in November’s National Novel Writing Month’s seat-of-your-pants, writing extravaganza.
The idea is simple. Write a 50,000 word novel in one month. The idea maybe simple, the actual writing not so. However thousands of people, including myself, take part every year. Nanowrimo , as those in the know call it, inspires thousands to take part – last year over 200, 000 people writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.
It’s easy to sign up, and free. Just register at http://www.nanowrimo.com – you can post profiles, exerts from your novel, make friends in the online community and off you go. You upload your novel as you go along and the word counts are validated as you submit copy. There is plenty of encouragement: regional forums; local events you can attend as well as podcasts and inspiring blogs on line.
1667 words a day. Nobody says it is easy, but it is fun. You have to lock away that inner editor and just create, enjoy and write, write, write. It’s a fantastic discipline. Obviously, if you are successful and finish the 50,000 words by midnight on November the 30th you can’t just post your effort off and get published. Rewriting will need to take place and for some, this has been successful. Rachael Herron’s novel How to knit a Love Song was recently published and Sarah Gruen’s Flying Changes, was even a New York Times bestseller. Other published books include Rebecca Agiewich’s Breakup Babe, Dave Wilson’s The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, and Gayle Brandeis’s Self Storage.
For teachers hoping to inspire their students there is a young nanowrimo programme http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ and a Nano U for University students http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/nanouniversity. The young writers programme allows 17-and-under participants to set reasonable, yet challenging, individual word-count goals.
They say everyone has a novel in them. Well, let nanowrimo be your guide.