Writing a novel is a dream, goal or passion that comes up quite often on “must do before I die” lists all around the world. For some the creation of a novel has been lurking in their minds since the first word book was in their hands. For others it could have emerged following the high school easy-to-get credit class that was taught by a great teacher. Finally for some like myself, it might have been a culmination of the love of reading and wanting to try to create something permanent in this volatile world.
Since I don’t believe in coincidences but events that happen for a reason, my introduction to NaNoWriMo came at a most unexpected time. I had just received a note from my doctor for a forced “off work” two week period and a handful of prescriptions to ease my bronchitis. It was the first of November 2006 and I remember asking myself just how many books I could read during those long two weeks.
I signed on to check my messages and on the landing page of Yahoo the words caught my eye: “Want to write a novel? This is your time to shine”. The title gave me a reason to momentarily dream of a finished novel in paperback format with an embossed shiny cover. Minutes passed as I discovered NaNoWriMo. NaNo as we often call it, started in 1999 when 21 young students from the San Fransisco Bay area got together and decided to try to write a 50,000 word novel in one month.
When I first considered NaNoWriMo I had not seriously thought about writing an entire novel although it had been on my list of to-dos since 1983. I couldn’t imagine much good could be had from someone writing so many words in so little time. Then I thought of prolific writers such as Clancy and King and so many others. NaNoWriMo is NOT about writing your phenomenal novel, but more about letting your want-to-be writer have fun.
There are no doubts that this writing frenzy is a bit crazy. 50,000 words is about 1,667 words per day – yes, PER DAY! However incredibly insane this seems to be, more than 119,000 participants joined last year, with more than 21,683 crossing that magical finish line before midnight on November 30th.
Some past NaNoWriMoers have been published, yet I suspect most had to rework some or even most of their original NaNo work. Some established authors use NaNo frenzy as a way to brain dump future novel ideas. Other do it on a dare while most do it because they love to write!
So if writing a love story, a military adventure or even your own biography has crossed your mind, this may be the time to give it a go. My first year was my favorite year because everything was so brand new. I completed my 50,000th word of my first novel (Presumed Guilty) on November 28th of 2006. My second novel (Doll Face) was written from a pre-thought story, something I will not do again. Although I did finish before the end of November, the planning ahead stunted my imagination. My third novel (Don’t sit in front of cacti and 99 other things I learned while geocaching) was to be a series of adventures from my geocaching life, however I was needed on a large project and that put an end to my very short scramble of fewer than 2,000 words. Last year while using my “write as it comes out of my head” approach was heading in the right direction but a burnout wedged itself in my writing. Pity – that was a great opportunity since I had lots of time on my hands. My fourth attempt (The Reluctant Messenger) numbered a mere 5,600 words.
This year with a November looking more like the calendar of a politician running for elections (so many events, so many meetings, so many trips and activities) I am ready for a wild ride. Although I considered retaking my 99 things idea and starting anew, I decided that the “let my brain spew out thoughts” seem to be the most fun way to write…
So if you see less of me this coming month, please know I am fine. Somehow between gatherings, a quilting weekend retreat, another weekend of celebration, work, kettlebell training and a trip starting November 27th, I will once again apply myself and count myself part of the crazy National Novel Writing Month aficionados. Won’t you join me?
For more information visit the http://www.NaNoWriMo.org site!