And they're off.
Halloween decorations have come down as many peoples thoughts turn to the coming Holiday season, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and of course New Years, ripe with the promise of a new beginning.
November is also known as National Novel Writing Month, more commonly referred to as NaNoWriMo. Participants sign up to write a new 50,000 word novel between November 1st and 31st, a feat that requires one to put out at least 1667 words per day to hit the 50,000 word goal. Last year over 310,000 writers participated.
If you're not familiar with NanoWriMo you're not alone. Based on the participation rate it would be safe to say that anywhere from one to two million people know about NaNoWriMo, this is just a guess on my part so please don't ask for my source. When compared to the world's population of 7.12 billion those who know about the November madness is a mere drop in the bucket.
The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated
throughout the process. To ensure this, the website provides
participants with tips for writer's block, local places writers
participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of
support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection.
NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality,
encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be
edited at the author's discretion.
I tried NaNoWriMo in 2009 and quickly learned it does not mesh well with my writing style. While I'm quite capable of hitting the daily goal of 1667 words, I do it now when I'm in creation mode, I'm the breed of writer that can't blow by a glaring mistake with the intent to come back and fix it later. I agonize over every word, and its placement, and misspellings must be corrected on the spot.
The biggest thing that turns me off about NaNoWriMo is the participation. When I did it in 2009 my inbox was filled with emails daily from NaNo central, as I came to call them. On top of that were the emails from the state and local groups I had been assigned to when I signed up.
Yeah, I know I could turn off the notifications, but isn't that part of the allure of NaNoWriMo? To hang out with other writers to celebrate your successes and commiserate over your failures?
For me writing is a solitary task, the ultimate form of communication between a writer and the reader. When someone sits down with one of my books, or when I sit down with another writer's book, it's as if the reader and the writer were alone sharing a story that is slowly unfolding on the page.
Unlike a movie where the viewer shares the story with an audience. Reading, and the act of writing, is a one on one experience between two people. There is only the readers imagination, and the words on the page. There is no room for cheering sections, and daily goals, or certificates of completion.
There is only the story being told.