NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. I’m not sure how to feel about it.
Well, I guess I do know. To be fair, I think NaNoWriMo is a great concept and it is really exciting for the writing community. This is the first year I’ve ever heard of this event, but it seems to be popular already, with tons of success stories since it began in 1999. It is inspiring, encouraging, and helpful for writers. So why am I not so sure about it? The fact that you have to write a novel in one month.
The traditional use of NaNoWriMo is to start and finish a novel in one month: “Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon.” It sounds pretty ideal–writing your novel you’ve always wanted to write and getting it done before you even have the time to worry that it is taking too long. I think there are certain genres of writing that are conducive to this kind of time limit, though. Maybe a romance or a short mystery can be done in a month. But what about the next great American novel?
I think my mind is just playing the devil’s advocate, here. Really, I know that NaNoWriMo has evolved to not necessarily be about writing an entire novel–rather, to get down the first 50,000+ words. It’s about getting over your fears of writing the first draft so you can move onto the relief of revising. And I think that it’s an awesome thing that there is an entire month devoted to it, that there are so many people who care about literature.
I have joined the official website, NaNoWriMo.org, which offers a sense of community and lots of pep talks. Exactly what a writer needs, I think? We (I) tend to be insecure about our passion.
So for me, this month is gonna be about adding to my novel daily (and hopefully hitting 50,000 words). It’s kind of scary to commit to it–maybe that’s why I am not going crazy over it all.
So, yes, if you feel the way I feel, use this month and the inspiration of NaNoWriMo to remember to work on this novel of yours and make it a priority. Which we really should be doing anyway!