If you or someone close to you has ever been interested in writing, odds are you’ve heard the term “NaNoWriMo” at some point. It sounds and looks like gibberish, but to those in the know, it means something big.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Started in 1999 by a group of 21 friends and writers, NaNoWriMo has grown to an international writing community and nonprofit group with the aim of providing writers with structure and encouragement to set and achieve specific creative goals.
The event begins November 1st and continues throughout the month of November. Participants strive for overall goal of completing a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 P.M. November 30th. Prizes are awarded to “winners” (anyone who completes the 50k words by the deadline), but the site has badges recognizing a variety of milestones throughout the process to celebrate writers’ achievements.
There’s no fee to enter and you don’t lose anything if you fail to achieve the 50k word goal, so if you’re a writer in need of some accountability, this is a pretty cool program. It helps build the habit of writing everyday and to write without self-editing (it’s pretty hard to hit 50k if you’re constantly going back to rewrite), which are pretty key to powering through and finishing that first draft.
I will not be participating this year (at least officially). It’s not that I don’t want to participate, I just know the way my brain works, and given my current work schedule, I would be prone to what I call “Term Paper Mode.” In other words, when I start to run out of things to say, I would get more caught up in the word count goals than the story I want to tell, and start stuffing unnecessary adverbs and adjectives in so I could hit my goal and go to bed. Also, let’s be real, Gilmore Girls debuts Nov. 25th, and I will definitely be using part of that day to binge watch with my mom.
I will, however, be challenging myself to set aside more time to write each day, whether that means getting up a little earlier or staying up a little later. The only real difference is I won’t be keeping track of word count, that way I can step away from the keyboard when I need to without feeling guilty if I didn’t get much done.
So, if you don’t hear from me or any other writers you know this month, we apologize, but this is kind of our Super Bowl. We promise we’ll hang out with you in December (you know, when we’re not editing and revising the first drafts we’ve just completed).
As for all my fellow writers out there, are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you doing your own personal challenge like me? And what’s the largest amount of adverbs you’ve ever stuffed into a term paper?