Oops, I did it again! Signed up for National Novel Writing Month, that is. How could I not? It’s addictive knowing I can get 50,000 words down in 30 days.
I’m an official ‘participant,’ and on or before December 1, I plan to be an official ‘winner’ for 2012.
If you have any inkling at all about wanting to get a story out of your head and onto the page, I recommend NaNoWriMo. Even if that dark voice in your head starts whispering things like:
- You don’t have the time
- You’re already over worked
- You haven’t found time all year for your writing so what makes you think now will work?
- Ha! You think you have a good enough idea for a novel?
- There’s a long holiday weekend in November and you have to cook, clean, travel, visit, watch football, or be a couch potato.
What I love about participating in NaNoWriMo is shutting up that dark voice – and I bet you can turn off your internal editor, too.
I visualize my ‘dark voice’ as a yard gnome (I have nothing against yard gnomes in the real world), and stomping it with a large boot. But like the googly-eyed talking Twinkies, er, minions in the movie Despicable Me, (or the upcoming Despicable Me 2) my imaginary yard gnome doesn’t shut up, no matter what I try — EXCEPT during November.
In November, there’s some type of force field that separates me from the dark voice in my head when I’m writing fiction. And I think it works for a lot of other writers, too.
This is directly from http://www.nanowrimo.org:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
NaNoWriMo is free and you can be as involved as you want with other Wrimos (the name given to other, um, crazy people who have signed up) in your area or online.
You can try “word wars” where people agree to start writing at a certain time (top of the hour, quarter past, half past, etc.) and for a certain length of time (15 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) At the end of that time period, post your total words, and see how you compare to other writers. Competition can really kick those endorphins into high gear.
Honestly, there is just a feeling of freedom knowing that the internal voice has no power and that the words can flow onto the page. Editing can start in December, but for November, how about joining me in getting at least 50,000 words down?
Lisa J. Jackson is a New England-region journalist and a year-round chocolate and iced coffee lover. She loves working with words, and helping others with their own. As Lisa Haselton, she writes fiction, co-blogs about mystery-related writing topics at Pen, Ink, and Crimes, has an award-winning blog for book reviews and author interviews, and is a chat moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom. Connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.