Every year since 2003, I have participated in (well, at least signed up for) NaNo WriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for the lay-person). The goal is simple, write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.
What! Are you kidding? Fifty-THOUSAND words? Is that even possible?
The answer is, for me at least, yes, it is possible. Witness the 7 first-draft novels I have created (or at least started) in November. Now, I do have 4 non-wins under my belt as well (in 2012, I think my total word count just crested 1,200 words), but life happens, and sometimes that doesn’t involve writing in November.
This year I have narrowed down my story to one of two re-writes. Either Foxglove and Queen Anne’s Lace- a young adult novel I originally wrote in 2009, or the expansion of a not-so-short story that started off as a re-telling of Snow White into a novel. One big difference this year is that I will be working from an outline of some sort.
You may be asking yourself, why November? If I am capable of creating a full first draft, why do I stick to doing it during NaNo WriMo – why not apply the skills I’ve learned to other parts of the year?
Short answer is: I do, but life. One thing that November brings that I do not have other months is the massive community behind me – the thousands of other people across the world who are also participating in this mad dash for 50k and glory. And by glory, I mean a certificate. Well, a certificate and the certain knowledge that we have created something.
For eight years I was Municipal Liaison for my region, planning the events that locals would attend to get them psyched about writing, and building that community locally. I have since retired that position, but I have other community groups (mostly online) that are participating in NaNo WriMo this year. And so I go once more, bravely into the breach, and with these other writers by my side, cheering me on, will bravely try to turn one of my stories into a better story, through application of an outline, and lots of time and energy pounding out the words to make that story come to life.
And you can tell, with that last sentence (as rambley as it is) that the NaNo WriMo season is truly upon us, and the motto “Quantity not quality” is once again seeping into my writer’s blood.
Once more, into the breach I go.