As in, do you participate in the wild and crazy, thrill-inducing, roller-coaster-ride, amazing rush that should be illegal, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month?
If you’re a writer, you should!
Okay, I readily acknowledge and accept that there are those who do not find NaNo useful to their authoring endeavors. I’ve seen people write about why they don’t, and even why they don’t think any “serious writer” should participate in NaNoWriMo. I won’t go so far as to say every single writer should participate and anyone who doesn’t is an idiot. But I do think that most writers would benefit from it, and I think everyone should give it a shot at least once.
Well, as the people behind the curtain at NaNo used to say (I can’t find it on their site now), it’s “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.” You sit down and you just. write. You don’t edit, you don’t filter, you don’t do anything else with your work that takes away from the writing of it. All you do is write. That’s all you can do if you want to meet your 50,000 word deadline by midnight on November 30! And what this type of writing produces is a work that is usually far superior to anything written at a leisurely pace during which you are catching little mistakes, agonizing over this word or that word, and trying to decide whether Sally goes to the left or the right at the end of the path. When you don’t let yourself think about those things while you write, the work you produce is much more pure.
Since I started participating in 2006, I have worked out a rhythm with my novels. NaNoWriMo is my kickoff for a new novel; I get the bulk of it written during those thirty days. I take December off, unless I’m really on a roll with the flow of the story. In January, I pick it up again, and then I spend the next couple of months finishing up the story. Then I do first and second edits. Then I ship her off to Beta Readers, with a “goal publication date.” When it comes back, I finish up, and by then it is hopefully somewhere in August. And the idea of starting a new novel and really focusing on it is so inspiring and exciting,that by the end of August, I cannot wait for November to arrive.
Now that it’s October, I’ve been anxiously awaiting November’s incoming for over a month. And I have had a story idea swirling around in my head since last November, a second story playing leap frog with it for the last four months or so, and a third story that decided to join the fray just a couple of weeks ago. This third story has been winning the game of “haunt the author” since its inception, but there were parts of it I just wasn’t sure how to pull off. Until this morning. The plot line was nagging me, so while I was getting ready this morning, I let it just play out in my head. And all of a sudden, the idea came to me. The whole story played through, and I realized how it was going to go. It was incredibly exciting, and has been distracting my brain all day long. Now my fingers are itching to start it. So that will be my main project come 12:01 a.m. on November 1st :-). The other ideas, along with a Juvenile Fiction that is stewing, will be projects I will also hope to at least begin sometime in the next year.
So… how about you? Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? If you do, I hope you’ll look me up over there – my site name there is “Scout Finch,” and my project last year was Lies That Bind: Emma’s Story. If you don’t, I hope you’ll consider it. It’s so much fun and also really gives you a good start on a novel.