Tuesday, November 6, 2012


NaNoWriMo, that Klingon-ish sounding word, is setting the American writing world on fire. Haven’t heard? Think I’m kidding? Think I slipped on first-rains puddle and bumped my head?

Well, any of the above may be true. But NaNoWriMo is real also.

A few years ago someone thought to make November National Novel Writing Month. It wasn’t one of those acts of congress, like declaring August National Pickle Month. (You’d think they don’t have enough to do.) What started with fewer than a hundred participants has mushroomed. In the last ten plus Novembers it has caught on, and the nation is writing.


Now that the self-publishing outfits have become sponsors, the writerly engines are full on. (CreatSpace, Amazon’s service for self-publishing, is listed on the NaNoWriMo site as an official sponsor.) One blogger in-the-know said almost a quarter-million people have committed to it.

Committed to what?

Over the month of November they will write a fifty-thousand words (or more) novel, with a beginning middle and end. They will reach the end before November reaches its end.

Now that’s quite a commitment.
I have never accepted writing by the pound, or by the (word) count. I’ve found my own way to creative productivity. But if this is what throttles your engine, go for it. It’s only (gulp) 1,666 words per day, and if you don’t have a job, as many of us don’t, it can be 208 words per hour, eight hours a day, everyday of the week. That’s about one printed page an hour. But who’s counting?
Well, NaNoWriMo is, actually. That’s why I’m not doing it.
To all the brave souls who started, I wish you a great adventure. Maybe even a masterpiece.


Ruth Schiffmann said...

The numbers are crazy, aren't they?! That's way too much pressure for me. I can't work like that. But I do enjoy all of the creative energy that's buzzing around throughout November. Good luck to all who take up the challenge!

Vijaya said...

Good luck to all the fast writers ... I'm too slow to do Nano. But I can do a draft in 3-4 months. Fall and spring are esp. productive times for me, though this year, I was able to write throughout the summer.

Ann Herrick said...

For those who like to put pressure on themselves NaNoWriMo is fine. But I'm also too slow a writer for that speed. I'll just keep plugging along. :)

cleemckenzie said...

I'm cheering from the side lines! Good luck.

sruble said...

Thanks for the luck! I'm participating, but not going for 50k words. Have done that before and it produces horrible stories without plots or sense making. I just join in these days to have fun, revise, or work on a novel in progress. Also, apparently, to prove that I don't play by the rules ;)

Kelly Hashway said...

I'm not doing NaNo but I just started drafting two books, something I've never tried before. I'm on day three and already one manuscript has taken over control of my brain. I kind of knew I couldn't split my focus, and I'm okay with that.

Katie L. Carroll said...

I'm not participating in NaNo either. I did once, and it was kind of torture to focus so much on word count. And I still have not figured out how to make that particular story work, despite many restartings of it.

Good luck to all who are doing NaNo, though! I think it's a great tool for those writers who thrive with it. I'm just not one of them.

Marcia said...

I don't do NaNo either, but I wish great productivity to those who love to fast-draft.

I hope TOO many don't inundate agents with their NaNo novels in December. Or put them up on Kindle posthaste.

Mirka Breen said...

Hard to imagine that anyone would rush to send to agents or editors what is a *barely-just-completed-not-quite-done-made-it-to-the-thirtieth-of-November-PHEW!* first draft of anything.
Really? People, don’t do that.