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Monday, June 21 2010

NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month (, takes place every November. The general idea is to write 50,000 words in one month without reviewing your work or stopping to edit. Just write and write until you hit that fifty thousand word mark. They don't have to be brilliant words. They don't even have to be coherent words. But it wouldn't hurt if you had a little plot thrown in there. And at the end of the month, even if you don't have a complete novel, you'll have a large portion completed and an excellent chance of finishing.

A former coworker turned me onto NaNoWriMo (the same guy who encouraged me to write a book in the first place) when he decided to attempt this 50,000 word feat and wanted some company. After laughing and telling him how crazy he was the first year, I decided to give it a try the next November. That October, not wanting to wanting to run into a giant wall of terror, I decided on a plot, the characters, and the killer, then prepared myself to write like mad. Only one problem. November has that pesky Thanksgiving holiday at the end of it. A holiday my husband and I generally host. Only one solution. I'd have to write additional words on other days so I could guarantee that I'd have Thanksgiving available. So I decided to write my 50,000 words in twenty-five days, mostly because the math was easy. Fifty divided by twenty-five is two. I needed to write two thousand words a day. At first, I couldn't imagine I'd actually succeed. Two thousand words sounds like so many. But I just kept reminding myself that I wasn't writing two thousand words every day forever, just for twenty-five days. And I did. Mind you, I didn't have any kids at this point, so I could devote each evening to writing, plus my lunch hour and most of the weekend. If I missed my two thousand word mark one day, I'd just bump up my writing the next. And at the end of that November, I had a short novel. Not too shabby.

While I used NaNoWriMo to write my first book, one of the women in my writing group has used NaNoWriMo when she fell behind on her deadline. She had written her synopsis, knew exactly what she was going to write, but lacked that final motivation to get started. Enter NaNoWriMo. Though her book is much longer than 50,000 words, the process got her started and over that initial hump.

So if you've been thinking about writing a book but don't think you have the time or ability, now's your chance. November is still many months away, which gives you ample time to plot and outline. And don't forget to tell everyone you know that you're going to participate so that you'll be too ashamed to back out when November rolls around. And if November doesn't work for you, pick the best month for your schedule and commit to it. Then type like mad, don't look back, and Voila! At the end of the month, you'll have your very own novel. It really is that easy. Well, maybe easy isn't the correct word, but you get the idea.

Posted by: Staci McLaughlin AT 04:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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