This classifies as an announcement, a warning, and a commitment. It’s almost November, that month that I participate in the zany writing challenge that is NaNoWriMo (or the National Novel Writing Month) where writers across the globe, and of all ages and dispositions, join together to produce words in great quantity and get over whatever barriers stand in their way. My posts are likely to become sporadic, or more plentiful, depending what fodder this year offers.
This isn’t just for beginners either. It’s a good way to learn new techniques, adapt to deadlines, explore a different genre, or use the wave of creative energy to push past a stumbling block. There are a lot of naysayers who gather around at this time to mock and condemn participants. What they fail to realize is this process produces a rough draft, nothing more. No one is saying (well, except for a deluded few) that what is written during NaNo is ready for the limelight. But the only page that can’t be edited, polished, and improved is a blank one. NaNo makes sure those blank pages fill with words spelling out a tale, describing a world, or even documenting a truth.
So, are you up for a challenge? Are you going to join in and see what you can do given endless support and encouragement? The full information is here: http://www.nanowrimo.org.
I am signed up as MarFisk (and have been since 2003). I’ve had good years, I’ve had struggling ones, and though I’ve made my 50,000 every year, sometimes it’s been by the skin of my teeth. I work as a freelancer, so my available time is constrained by the contracts I have going as is my creative energy. If I need it for a job, it goes there first. Different people have different barriers, and 50,000 might be out of reach for a variety of reasons, but that’s no reason not to try.
Some things you can gain from participating:
1) Getting a clearer understanding of how you work, whether you try outlining, seat of your pants, writing in the morning, night, at a coffee shop, etc…
2) Meeting local writers (there are regions on the NaNo site that put you in contact with others who are participating).
3) Finding writing friendly places (as a side benefit to the local writing groups).
4) A break from the isolation writing can bring.
There are other ways in which NaNo can be a good thing. The rules are strict, but many organizations such as Forward Motion offer the camaraderie without holding people to the NaNo rules, something that opens NaNo to completing existing projects, though the NaNo rules may have become more flexible as it has grown.
To be honest, my participation on the NaNo site is minimal. Other people find much more there, but I have support through Forward Motion and other groups. I signed up once I moved to Reno for the sole reason of meeting local writers. It worked, and each year I meet more. One of my good friends came through a NaNo group back in Fremont. At this point, though, signing up is more a habit, and a good one.
How about you? Are you going to NaNo this year? And if you have in previous years, what’s one of the things NaNo provided?