A trashy lesbian romance? A dark allegory about modern life? A young-adult mystery? If you think you have it in you, give it a try during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which participants attempt to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel between November 1 and November 30. The object is not necessarily to produce a good novel, but rather to let go your inhibitions and complete one:
It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
Last year, 59,000 people participated and over 9700 completed their novels. The NaNoWriMo has more information on how to participate and have your novel counted. Finishers get an official “Winner” web icon and certificate. There are numerous support forums and resources, so you won’t feel like you’re going it alone. Lifehacker also offers useful advice in the comments on their announcement of the event.
All ages are welcome, and there’s even a special site for those 12 and under (who must get a parent’s permission to join). NaNoWriMo says children can gain fluency, confidence, creativity, and time management skills from the exercise, though they urge parents to ensure rest, ergonomics, and appropriate prioritzation in their writing progeny.
If any readers are participating, let me know if you’re putting excerpts online. I’ll post links to them so others can send you messages of encouragement. Write on!