We at TSHS have mentioned the international craze that is National Novel Writing Month (colloquially known as NaNoWriMo) as a potential writing utensil before. But let’s look at in a little more depth, shall we?
If you’re unfamiliar, every November, hundreds of thousands of aspiring novelists (and some established ones) buckle down for thirty days and try to generate 50,000 words of prose. Moreover, many of them are successful. As I write this, in fact, NaNoWriMo 2012 has already generated nearly 1.5 billion words. That’s a lot of typing, friends.
Of course, there are a number of ways to accomplish this lofty goal. If you’re more of a dogged, steady-wins-the-race kind of person, 1,667 words per day for thirty days will get you to 50,000. Prefer taking the weekend off? 2,273 words every week day = 50,000. Or maybe you can only write on the weekends. Writing 6,250 words every Saturday and Sunday yields 50,000, too.
Even with the breakdowns, does all this seem a little bit insane? Yes, of course! But we might ask ourselves: so? Arguably, NaNoWriMo is as much about setting and achieving goals as it is writing. And, as with any long endeavor, making it to the finish line feels pretty good. Even if your literary autobiographical novel devolved into a Hunger Games-esque dystopia with dragons . . . you still wrote a novel. Sure it’s lousy, but that’s the point of any first draft, isn’t it?
And if you’re wondering, many a NaNo champion has gone on to fame and fortune, including Erin Morgenstern of The Night Circus fame.
Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? What’s your novel-writing strategy?
About the Author: Julia Patt
Julia Patt, Contributing Editor, from Chestertown, MD, is a graduate of Sweet Briar College and the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where she was a fiction editor for The Greensboro Review. Her young adult novels—i was a fourth grade zombie slayer and Through Waterless Places—were both shortlisted for Mslexia’s 2012 Children’s Novel Competition, and her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Surreal South ’11, Stymie, and PANK.