NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It is an annual contest that began in 1999 to write a 50,000 word novel in the thirty days of November. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world undertake this challenge. The idea is just to write, not to edit or second guess yourself, but just to write. It is a fantastic way to jumpstart the writing process and get the words on the page, 50,000 words to be exact.
I chose to write about it now, near the end of September, because if you want to participate, this is the time to prepare yourself. You can think about what you want to write. Maybe you have always wanted to write a mystery or a romance novel, but you just never have. NaNoWriMo provides the impetus to get your writing started. All month long, thousands of other people will be doing the same thing. The NaNo website www.nanowrimo.org provides pep talks by well-known authors, writing challenges, and all kinds of other activities to keep you motivated throughout the month.
The pep talks from published authors are one of my favorite parts of the program. You can get free writing advice from writers like Neil Gaiman, Kate DiCamillo, and Min Jin Lee. Some writers began their books during NaNoWriMo, like Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants, and Erin Morgenstern, who wrote The Night Circus.
I have participated in NaNoWriMo five times, and I have reached 50,000 words each time. Some of those horrible first drafts are still sitting in my computer. However one of them, a writing project that I collaborated on with a friend, became a book. It’s called Shady Hollow, and we created the pen name of Juneau Black. It’s a mystery about a murder that takes place in a small village that is made up of woodland creatures who live together in a community. We started it for fun, and now we are working on the third book in the series.
I hope that this will be the year that you decide to try something new and creative. Spend the month of November writing the novel that you have always dreamed about writing. It’s also an excellent way to get out of any family gatherings that you might want to avoid. The excuse of “I’m busy writing my novel” works every time.
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