November isn’t just about Thanksgiving and leaves changing and fall weather, it is also National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. The description from the official website, www.nanowrimo.org, reads as follows:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.
I will be participating in this event for the third time. My first two attempts were failures. Writing is harder than it sounds. It is much more than coming up with a sound story idea. It is about coming up with the story, from start to finish, including plot, character development and setting. It’s also about getting out of your own way, your own head and putting pen to paper.
In the previous two attempts, I had a vague story idea and just started writing myself into corners and walls. So I am trying a different approach. I already have my story idea, and have my characters defined, and am working on an outline. I am making sure that this story not only has legs, but also the eyes to see where it is going.
NaNoWriMo is wonderful for a number of reasons. The organization is amazing at creating a strong sense of community for its participants. There are word sprints (set times of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc) to see how many words you can get on a page or hit a goal that force you to get out of your own way and just write. Endless writing prompts for any genre and a website full of forums for whatever you need. The experience has helped me tremendously as a writer, and in the past that has been more valuable than meeting the goal.
I am going in with more focus this time. This isn’t something I want to just play at. It is something I want to do for a living. Acknowledging that the writing is harder than it sounds, and starting to look at it less like a hobby and more like a profession is already making a significant difference.
I see this as an opportunity, a catalyst, to getting a novel off the ground. I am under no illusions that I will emerge from the month with a finished draft ready to be published, but I will have a draft (or at least 50,000 words of one) that can generate the momentum I need to keep moving forward with my craft. And I intend to have an action packed and fun-filled month along the way.