Thursday, September 3, 2009

What to do, what to do

November, also known as National Novel Writing Month, is fast approaching. That means I'm waffling daily on whether to participate.

In case you've never heard of NaNoWriMo: In November every year, writers around the world risk their sanity by committing to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel in 30 days (that's 1,667 words a day). I've participated three times in NaNoWriMo. Twice I prevailed (that's my winner's certificate for 2006 up there) -- with novels that may some day be published. Once I've done substantial (substantial) work on them, of course.

The beauties of NaNoWriMo
1) Your muse is forced to stay front and center all month. There's no going back and futzing (Joyce-speak for editing). For some writers, this is critical for moving forward. NaNoWriMo gives you permission to let the previous chapter suck while you move on to the next sucky chapter.

2) Anything goes. Aliens can land during the sagging middle of your version of the Alamo, and no one is allowed to say, "That would never happen." It's your novel, damn it. Of course it can happen.

3) It's a wonderful bonding experience with other writers. By the middle of the month (the real-life version of the sagging middle), everyone's in the same boat: bleary-eyed and in need of a shower. And the boat is sinking. It's like living in the college dorm again (with slightly less drinking), where everyone has the same stress and gets exactly what you're going through. Who knew 1,667 words a day would be so frakkin' hard one minute and so incredibly exhilarating the next?

4) When you're done, assuming you're not wearing one of those super-long-sleeved jackets you can't get out of without help, you can say, "I wrote a novel." No one has to know about the aliens at the Alamo. Or the guy who took down a dragon with a martini olive. (I already mentioned the drinking, right?)

There are other NaNoWriMo bennies, but those are the ones that appeal the most to me. One of the rules is that you write a complete novel starting on Nov. 1 -- in other words, you don't pick up something you've already been working on. I'm considering doing my own version of NaNoWriMo to finish a first draft of my current work in progress. That would give me December to whip the WIP into shape in time for its deadline. Not sure if this would even be feasible, but it might be worth a try.

For more information on NaNoWriMo:

1 comment:

  1. Joyce, I don't have the guts to try to do NaNoWriMo, but congrats to you for achieving the winner's award. Wow!
    I say go for it. Use the month to complete the first draft of your WIP. What do you have to lose? Oh right. Your sanity.