Excitement fills the air as a multitude of writing hopefuls get ready for the mad dash of words November brings. For the uninitiated NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the basic idea is to start writing a novel on November 1st and have completed 50,000 words by the conclusion of November 30th. If you’d like more information, please visit their FAQ’s.
So while writers are getting geared up, flexing their fingers, making a mad dash through their outlines, notes, and whatever method of preparation they use to help get them through the month, agents and editors are furiously working on getting through their current submissions so they can put up their “Closed to Submissions” sign in January to help stave off the onslaught of submissions which are the result of NaNoWriMo. Let’s face it, while there will be a few commercial products born out of this frenzy of writing, the vast majority will require significant work (much more time than the month of December can provide) to turn into a publishable product. So January submissions are something to be feared. Because the actual purpose of NaNoWriMo is NOT to write great words with much consideration and thought, it is simply to help writers write through blocks and to put works on the page. And it is the time of year when this button could end up being true as writers reach to fill the pages.
Last year I experienced NaNoWriMo through Twitter and there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie as authors communicated about their progress, had online writing sessions, and helped one another through the blocks to keep the words flowing. While I didn’t participate directly in NaNoWriMo, I gained quite a few of my very best online friends during that time. I was hard at work as well in the process of editing two novels I wanted to have revisions complete by the end of November, so we all worked well into the night together. One of my favorite hashes on Twitter was born at that time: #amwritingparty which is where I met so many of my now good friends.
Best of luck to all of the participants this year. I will once again be rooting for everyone from the sidelines as I am once again working on two books, one in the creation phase and the other in the editing phase…so I guess that makes me a NaNo Rebel, and something which will always be the case. For one thing, I am internally driven and put enough pressure on myself to get things done, and I tend to stall with word count pressure. If I simply approach my work and write, without being concerned with how many words I’ve written or revised, I am much happier. BUT for those who like the challenge of the word count pressure, and find themselves stalling on their work in progress, you might want to give Write Or Die a try.
Whether you outline, cluster, or are simply a panster, I wish you the best luck for the month of November, lots of words and hope no one OD’s on too much coffee, twizzlers, or whatever else fuels the writing fires.