Are you ready writers? It’s NaNoWriMo Time! For those who don’t write, you are probably wondering what this means.
NaNoWriMo, in layman’s terms, is National Novel Writing Month. For the entire month, serious NaNoWriMo-sters barricade themselves in their bedrooms or offices, or put a barrier up in the local coffee shops (envision the forts we built as kids) and don't come out until their novel is complete.
That's how we'd like it to be, anyway. Unfortunately, there are jobs, and kids, and other responsibilities that keeps us from being anti-social during November, including Thanksgiving.
Last year, I did my best to write every day, calculating how many words I needed to write every day to stay on task and complete my goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. Needless to say, it didn't work. I completed my novel, but I did not reach 50,000. I ended my story with a little over 40,000 words. I patted myself on the back and walked away. For an entire year.
Maybe I was burned out or tired of spending all my free time writing and pressing to meet the deadline,; I'm not sure. (Imagine being on a constant deadline for 30 days. Yeah. Journalists, you know what I'm talking about. Talk about stress.)
I didn't want to just put words on a piece of paper. I wanted to write a great story. And I think I did; it just took longer than I thought. A lot longer. I finally went back to it and picked it up again, and though I haven't changed much of the content, I did see where I must have been writing in my sleep. It was that bad.
While I am finishing this story, I am picking up another I started years ago called Once in a Blue Moon.
According to the website, the very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That first year there were 21 writers. In 2018, NaNoWriMo expects over 400,000 people to participate. I learned a lot from my experience last year, and though I am sure there are a lot of different kinds of NaNoWriMo writers, I think, just like life, it's what you make it.
There are no rules really, except that if you want to enter it in the contest at the end of month, there is a certain criteria you have to follow. But if you are doing it just for fun or for a personal challenge, you can do pretty much whatever you want.
Because of my experience last year, I have a greater respect for writers such as Stephen King and Nicholas Sparks, who can churn out a book like it was nothing. As an avid reader, I was on the other side of the book. And now, as a writer myself, I have learned that writing a novel is hard work (especially trying to write one in a month). Most of my writing experience has been writing news story, which I can usually write in just a couple of hours. But writing a 50,000 word novel takes commitment, determination, and perseverance. You have to be dedicated and have a great imagination. But it’s fun too, which is probably why NaNoWriMo has gained such a loyal following.