NaNoWriMo, National November Writing Month, begins next week on November 1. For 30 days, I will join hundreds of thousands of writers around the world, working towards one goal—to complete a novel of 50,000 words during November. This is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo and I am excited.
I usually write shorter pieces, such as essays and profiles, and I have never completed anything this lengthy or large or imposing in my years as a writer. But I have various stories floating around in my imagination, stories that I want to explore, and I decided it would be a good challenge; I want to see what I can create after a month of focused work. I will need to write nearly 1,700 words every day to get to the finish line, but I am certain that some days will have me zipping past that goal, while other days will be a struggle to get down the first few sentences.
On December 1, I do not expect to have what could be truly called a novel, at best, it will be a messy draft, a jumble of words, twisted plots, and characters. Part of me wonders if by rushing through this process, I can develop any real sense of what it means to write a novel. I know that the real work of writing comes in revision, not in the first draft. I did not learn how to swim by putting on a swimsuit, or run by choosing running shoes based on color. After November, I may have to walk away from this work for a while, giving it time to settle in, and go back later and revise it into something that can carry the label “novel.” It doesn’t matter; I am thrilled by the prospect of trying to tell a story that is interesting enough to hold my attention for its first 30 days.
Accountability is a good partner, so I will post my word counts here every Friday during November, which will keep me focused on my progress and let you know how I am doing. If you think you have a good story in you, and want to join me, you can sign up at NaNoWriMo or just start writing on your own.
Starting word count: zero, but lots of ideas…