Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Ask almost anyone if they've ever dreamed of writing a novel. Chances are they'll say yes. Since my first book was released in 2004, I lost count of the would-be writers who tell me they always wanted to write a novel. They either don't know where to start, haven't made the time, or just haven't gotten around to it. Yet their story burns within them.

A man once told me he had a story idea rattling around in his head for twenty years. After he explained his idea in a sentence or two I asked how much more he had. He looked a little sheepish and said, "That's all I got."

NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month--is designed to get those ideas out of your head and onto the page. Best part; it only takes 30 days.

Every November writers around the world sign up for the challenge to write the story on their hearts in 30 days. No editing, no second guessing, no whining to your mother that no one understands your genius. Just sitting in a chair and pounding out the words.

Word count is key at NaNoWriMo. Sometimes the hardest part of writing is getting past one's own doubts in one's abilities. NaNoWriMo takes the pressure off. It doesn't matter if you never took a creative writing course, don't have a third grader's grasp of basic grammar, or have never written as much as an email. All that matters is getting that story from your head to the page. The exercise is quite freeing, whether newbie or multi-published, award winning author.

Last summer my husband gave me an idea for a romance novel. I immediately recognized the novel potential in his idea, but was too busy with other projects to do anything with it. I wrote a quick 8 page synopsis and quickly forgot about it. But every now and then, the idea would come back to haunt me. As November crept closer with no other projects clogging my roster I thought I'd give his idea the attention it deserved. Three days into November and I have written about 10,000 words. I don't know if it's any good yet. That's not the point. I can worry about that in December. All that matters for one beautiful Autumn month is getting the words into my hard drive.

It isn't too late to sign up. Check out the website. Or do the challenge on your own, though I gotta tell you there's something to be said about accountability. How can you go wrong with a million other writers nagging and prodding and cheering you on?

Happy writing. I'll be back later in the month with an update on my progress. If you're part of the NaNoWriMo challenge, look me up and become my writing buddy. My username is teresaslack. If not, post your word count here. We can celebrate NaNoWriMo together.


Unknown said...

I'm not nearly so far along, but I'm chugging over here in fantasy-land. At about 3,000 right now. In other words, BEHIND!

I kind of wish I had a synopsis or something to work from. I certainly had novel ideas I could've used. But for some reason, on November 1, this idea just created itself in my brain. Now I can't fight it. But after writing-editing-writing-reading for the past year, it's hard to sit down and just WRITE! I think it's saving my life as a writer, though!

Rock on, NaNoWriMo!


Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Wow! 10,000 words is amazing! I only have 4300, but since I work full time, I am trying to be happy with that progress. I am absolutely loving it...the freedom to just write is the best!

Cecelia Dowdy said...

I've discovered when most people talk about the fact that they've always wanted to write a book, that's all that it is...just talk. If they really wanted to do it, they would. And, if they've read your post, and want to write a novel, then, I'd think they'd sign up and join you for National Novel Writing Month! I've heard nothing but great things about this event but, I'll admit, I've never done it myself! I do believe if you're determined to finish a novel, then this is a good way to get started!

Molly Noble Bull said...

Dear Everybody,
Thanks for making a comment.
I have never taken the nanowrimo writing challenge. My writing schedule is slower. But if I were ever to do this, I would write a complete synopsis before I started. Otherwise, I might get lost in the details.
And I agree with Cecelia. People who say they plan to write a novel someday probably never will. The nanowritmo thing separates those who write and those who only hope to write someday.

Katy King said...

I tried this once and had a novel done within 30 days. There's something about the deadline that drives you on to finish. At that time, one of the big romance publishers was sponsoring a contest where you sent them a complete novel and they'd review it. I didn't have one ready, so I wrote one. (Did NOT win, alas!)

Bess said...

I'm over 10,000 on my second book. My username is Shmologna. I'll try to add you today! Thanks for the blog post.

Teresa Slack said...

I'm up to about 11K so far. Would rather be farther along by now since I know there will be days this month when I can't write at all.

I had a synopsis ready before I got started. If I didn't I knew I would get stuck and lose my momentum. The point of NaNo, regardless of how you write, is to just get the words on paper. Just like losing weight or anything else, everybody talks about it, but no one wants to put in the effort. If you've responded to this post, you are a serious writer who will someday, if you haven't already, finish your book. And many more.

Happy writing, everyone.

Tea said...

I'm going to give it a try. I thought the NNWM had ended. Thanks for the information and the support.