So, here we go again, participating in Nanowrimo a/k/a National November Writing Month. Maniacs from all over the world (you have to be a little out of your mind to be a writer) sign up on www.nanowrimo.org and vow to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 through November 30th. It must be a new and not an existing project. The object of Nanowrimo is to turn off the inner editor, bitch slap the muse (she's been sleeping on the job), and produce a 50,000 word first draft of part or all of a new novel.
Some will go it alone and write in the privacy of their lairs. Others will seek the company of fellow writers and meet up in cafes, libraries, coffeehouses and other establishments, and find solidarity and support in numbers. I tend to do a bit of both. In fact, two of the things I love about Nanowrimo are the opportunities to meet up with other writers and the event's sense of accountability. Writing can be a solitary profession. It's nice to be able to meet up and interact with fellow writers throughout the month to encourage and support one another (and kick each other in the behinds if necessary). That leads me to the accountability part of Nanowrimo. Every day, you are supposed to update your word count online for all the world to see. Daily goals of 1667 words are set and you strive to meet or exceed them. Some of us keep a consistent pace meeting and/or exceeding the daily word count. Others, like me, fool around at the beginning of the month and fall behind, then write furiously in the middle of the month, and do a hail Mary at the end to catch up.
I've been participating in Nanowrimo since 2007. In some years, I wasn't able to catch up at the end and fell short of the 50K word goal. In others, I “won” Nanowrimo by meeting or exceeding the goal. No matter what, I always ended up with a great head start on the first draft of a new novel. Because of that, I have four novels in various stages of revision and one published novel – “Just Dreams.” That makes it all worthwhile to me.
If you ever dreamed of writing the great American novel, it's not too late to get started. Sign up and get started. I'll see you at the finish line.