This year, I have said “no” to NaNo. For a number of reasons. My current work load is pretty overwhelming. The NHS project I have been working on for 5 years is coming to a climax and I am in the second year of my BA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University with deadlines for assignments looming.
So, no NaNo for me this year. I’m feeling sad and angry and left-out, and even somewhat guilty, about not participating.
For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month; a jamboree of writing that takes place every November in which participants are encouraged to write a novel, from scratch, within 30 days. It is a fantastic scheme and has an excellent website. You can be an active member of the NaNo community if you choose and you can even join a regional group. Or you can just get on and write quietly on your own. At the end of the month, you post your written text into the NaNo text-crunching, word-counting, monster machine. If you have achieved the required 50,000 words, you are an official NaNoWriMo Winner!
I took part in 2010 and again in 2011 and have the badges to prove it. The novels I produced remain unfinished. In truth, they are both unholy messes of poorly constructed writing which lie in folders in the depths of my PC and which I work on, quietly, when the mood takes me. My 2011 NaNo novel was an improvement on my 2010 NaNo novel. I am sure my 2012 novel would have been even better!
So, what is the point of NaNoWriMo?
- It gets you writing.
- It gets you writing without editing.
- It gets you writing with permission to write a load of rubbish.
- It gets you into the habit of writing every day – 50,000 words in 30 days is 1,667 words a day.
In addition, you get to meet lots of friendly wanna-be writers – and some successful really-am writers – in the NaNo discussion forums and on the various NaNo blogs that spring up in November.
Last year I met up with some lovely NaNo ladies and we did a couple of writing sprints at the Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough. I am not sure the hotel had any idea what we were really doing, but they seemed happy for us to sit and write on our laptops, while they served us up the occasional cup of tea.
I have just looked at the current NaNoWriMo website and can see that over 1 billion words have been written so far by the collective bunch of scribblers that is the NaNo community – and we are only half way through the 11th day of November.
Will I do NaNoWriMo next year? You bet I will! No excuses next time.
Just for fun, I ran the above blog post through the ‘I write like’ style analyser – and guess what came out?