NaNoWriMo– What is it? And Who is Insane Enough to Attempt It?

10:33! Hey! I told myself I would start writing by 10:30, but like any great writer, procrastination tried to tempt me away. Let’s see in the last hour I have: Fed the dogs, taken down our measly Halloween decorations (Seeing as I worked my decorations consisted of caution tape and a sign begging the tricker-treaters to not enter the yard.) made sure my room was clean, the windows opened, my computer was working properly, my choice of background music was perfect, and my tea was made. And now here we sit.  Procrastinating by writing about everything but the topic at hand! OKAY! Here we go!

Now NaNoWriMo, a project (according to Wikipedia) was started by Chris Baty in 1999 with only 21 writers and in that time it has grown, to over 300,000 participants. From November 1 right through to November 31 at 11:59, the participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel, from start to finish. Ideally it is meant to be an original idea, thought up slightly before or during the challenge itself. To achieve this you must write consistently at about 1,600 words a day. Here’s a handy calendar


(Calendar filched from Google Images but actually the website for this looks helpful and a great tool. Have a peek!)

Now that sounds easy enough and 1,600 words doesn’t seem to be that much until you factor in life, interruptions, distractions and holidays. If you are a student it’s even worse you have all those factors plus school work, midterms and social life. Most writers give up a social life pretty fast in the challenge, opting instead for writing groups, word count challenges etc and basically saying to all non-writer friends, “I will see you after the holidays!”

You do have to be a bit of a masochist to take this on, but that is something every writer is no matter how much we want to deny it. We live in our heads, we write deeply personal items and then we ask the world, the public, to read what we wrote and in their own way judge it. We spend so much time getting to know the ins and outs of imaginary people, to find what makes them tick, makes them human, makes them alive–then we ask those very characters that become like our own children to walk through fire for us and some cases face death all for the sake of plot, drama and tension. And in November we ask  those 300,000 participants to do all this but do it in just 30 days!

I have been a participant of this challenge for about five years. I will admit I never finish. The word count rises, I get scared and I opt out by about week two. But this year! Oy, this year.  I plan to take on this challenge whole heartily, to write to my hearts content and to explore this idea in my head for ages and to finally accomplish something great in regards to writing. As well as keeping up this little blog, I may use this this month as a bit of a journal and venting station. But if you wish to watch my progress personally or participate in this challenge you can get started here. I am under Renee W. Koppelman, come be my buddy!

Well that is the jest of what my next month will be like and now I sign off on the blog and go and start on my novel and to knock those first few 1000 words out of the part! Good Luck to those who take on the challenge!

“Go my book and destroy the world as it is.” -Russell Banks.


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