NaNoWriMo 2007: What it is

I’ve heard about it for several years; this year I’ve decided to do it. But before I say further, perhaps I should explain what it is.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month; here’s its website, & here’s the article about it on Wikipedia. The basic idea is to write a short novel’s worth of material — 50,000 words — in a month, an average of 1,667 words per day, which is about 6 pages of double-spaced manuscript. The guys who made this event up held it the first time in July; since then they’ve done it in November to take advantage of the crappy weather, so they say. I reckon it’ll take some creativity be sure Thanksgiving doesn’t get in the way, but on the other hand that’s also a four-day weekend so that’s more full days for writing. And of course despite the word “National” in the event’s title, it’s not restricted to U.S. citizens, so all you non-U.S.ers don’t have to worry about Thanksgiving anyway. (Though perhaps you have other November holidays to worry about.)

The reason I haven’t done NaNoWriMo before is because I’ve already had a novel-in-progress, which requires a bit more thought than one month would give it. Obviously, since I’m still working on it. And why take on another project that might distract from the one already going? Well, partly because what with this & with that, lots of my writing efforts have been sabotaged (including self-sabotaged) already. I decided to do NaNoWriMo mainly for one reason: to clean out clogs in my pipes, to get the creative flow & momentum going again, to just get down & get to work. And then, once the month is over, to keep that momentum.

The NaNoWriMo “rules” (most of which are based on the honor system, since they don’t check up on you) say that a na-novel needs to be a new project — i.e., people shouldn’t be working on stuff they’ve already worked on. All the work of the month, every word set down, should be “new” work. Fine by me. I’ve actually got a project in mind, that came into my head one cold night two winters ago — maybe it was even a November night. But that’s for a separate blog post.

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