In about a week, November 1st will begin National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those who don’t know about NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write 50,000 words in the span of the 30 days from November 1st to November 30th. That breaks down to 1,667 words every day. While this may seem daunting, it is easily doable even with work or school.
My first year competing in NaNoWriMo was 2007. Over the course of that month, I only managed to get about 5,000 words. Still, I took that as a good sign. If nothing else, it was 5,000 words more than I had at the beginning of the month. After three more attempts, I managed to reach 50,000 words in 2010, 2011, and 2012. That first novel is my first book, which I am currently revising, and the other two novels tie into the world in which my first novel is set.
As Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo states, “We can all do amazing, impossible things when given a deadline, a supportive community, and unlimited access to chocolate and caffeine.” This quote holds true on so many levels, particularly when it comes to creative pursuits. One of the rules of NaNo that helps with the ability to reach the deadline is that you aren’t supposed to edit as you go. Oftentimes, the desire to edit and try to find the perfect word, phrasing, or sentence can put a halt on writing. As authors, we can get so wrapped up in trying to make the first draft perfect that it never gets written. No book gets written perfectly the first time through, so the ability to recognize that mistakes in writing are okay and to write through those areas of uncertainty are greatly helpful.
There is time after the month is over to read through the draft as many times as are needed to get the novel to a point where you are happy with it. The important part is getting the words down. Even though those words may not be perfect, one of the hardest parts is getting past the blank page.
I am looking forward to the challenge this year, and I hope I will see some of you there as well. If you would like to get in touch on the NaNoWriMo website, http://www.nanowrimo.org, my username is fantasy_writer42. Feel free to drop me a line.