The time of year is nigh. Yes, November is right around the corner and that means NaNoWriMo is coming with it. For those who don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, though the event spans a lot further than the states. In fact, it is more international than anything. For the entire month of November, anyone up to the task is challenged to write 50,000 of a novel by midnight on November 30th. It isn’t a task for the light hearted because reaching that goal requires dedication. For many writers, crawling out into the black after a few days of slacking off can be very difficult. But 50,000 can be done, it just requires a bit of preparation and mental fortitude.
Last year was the first time I ever manned up to go for the goal. It always seemed so daunting. 50,000 words out of perspective can seem like a monumental task. Even still, I sucked up my fear and prepared for a month of writing like a mad person. Guess what? I finished. I didn’t just finish, but I shattered the goal and reached a whopping 136,000 words. I’d written an entire novel and the beginnings of another. Considering, I had never finished an entire first act, much less an entire novel, I was flabbergasted. i’d set out to accomplish a goal and I had. The task ignited a fever in me. I had found something I enjoyed. I found something that I might actually be good at.
I realized very quickly that NaNo’s open to everyone, lacksidasical nature was not conducive to producing a novel. First off, 50,000 is not a novel that any major publisher will accept. It is a long novella. If you want to create novel, you better not be finished at 50k or it better be a very trim first draft. I wrote big. The novel I finished was 94k. Something I could work with. The second effect of NaNo is the idea that some people don’t realize is NaNo is great for the first draft. The key word is first draft. What you finish at the end of NaNo is not a finished product. it needs crafting, honing, fixing, and possibly rewriting. Understanding this is important if you ever want that draft you slaved away on to see the light of day.
Will I be participating in Nano this year? Absolutely. It is a great way to push me to create a first draft I can spend the next year working on. It gets me to build a backlog I can pull from to work on. It allows me to have stories in my back pocket ready to be worked on. The hardest part of writing a novel is getting the first draft done, if only because before you do that, thereis no novel.
Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo this year?