Sunday, September 30, 2007

National Novel Writing Month

That time of year is right around the corner, when writers everywhere begin asking one another, "are you doing NaNo?" That is, the National Novel Writing Month challenge to complete a novel during the month of November.

I'm not "doing NaNo", and I never have, but it's had a profound impact on my writing, anyway. I first heard of NaNo five or six years ago, when I was participating in an online writers group for women. Honestly, I thought it sounded kind of gimmicky, and I was pretty busy with non-fiction projects at the time, so I paid it no mind. For about a week. By that point, I'd heard so many people talking about word counts and hours invested and the possibility of reaching the goal that I got curious. I wanted to see whether or not I could write a whole novel in a month. I didn't sign up, but I started writing, and I knocked out just over 40,000 words, edited and with submission materials, in three weeks. I sold it off for a kind of packaging, under someone else's name, and didn't give it much more thought.

At least, not until last year, when a friend of mine announced that she was going to give NaNo another try and I remembered just how quickly that other book had gone. It so happened that I'd started a romance novel a little earlier (okay, was THREE YEARS earlier) and stopped cold at about 9,000 words. Surely that couldn't take any time to knock out. The big difference was that I'd been freelancing the first time around; last year I had a full time job.

Still, I managed to finish the book during November, primarily by handwriting it on the commuter train.

And then...well, you see the pattern, right?

Here we are rapidly approaching November again, and I haven't even made any serious efforts to sell that novel I finished last year. I do, however, have another book that I wrote a few thousand words of and then let fall by the wayside, and I'm game to pick it up and see if I can polish it off during my November commute.

I just hope that I can squeeze in some time somewhere along the way some of these books that are piling up on my hard drive!

1 comment:

CK Holder said...

I wrote a novel last year for NaNoWriMo. It was such a satisfying accomplishment for me. I haven't looked at it up since, but now I can let go of the nagging goal to someday write a novel.

I'm going to do it this year, too. I'm not looking forward to it with the intensity of last year, but with the cool, casual collectedness of a seasoned pro. :)

I'm reading your posts backwards to catch up and after reading your post about 16000 words, I immediately thought of NaNoWriMo. More synchronicity???