November is National Novel Writing Month. In celebration, hundreds (thousands?) of people worldwide partake in the challenge to write a novel in one month. By December 1st, the goal is to have 50,000 words. I have pledged to attempt this challenge, along with some of my fellow writing group members. It is now day five of the contest, and I only have 392 words.
I could make up a million excuses for this poor showing so far. For instance:
- Today is day eight of eight days in a row that I had to work.
- My computer died for a few days and I did not have it in my possession.
- I was trying to take an online course in Web Design which was taking up most of my free time.
- We’re getting new siding put on the house, which results in constant banging that interrupts my concentration.
These are all just excuses, I know. I have a day off coming up soon, and I plan to find a quiet space in the library and write until I catch up to or surpass the suggested word count for day six. I will let you know how this plan works out.
In addition to the above excuses, I also have mixed feelings about writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a breeding ground for quick, sloppy writing. In my writing courses, I’ve been taught to concentrate on the quality of writing, to consider each paragraph, each sentence, each word, each punctuation mark. We were meant to deliberate over each comma, period and exclamation point. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days does not leave time for such considerations. In theory, December is meant for editing.
On the other hand, the challenge does get you to write – a lot. Sometimes sitting down to write is the biggest problem I have to get myself to write. Taking on the challenge with friends is also helpful. It’s a great little support network to motivate each other to keep at it. Whether we hit the 50,000 word mark or not, we know we have tried. And even if we don’t have that many words, we have some words and a good start on a new writing project.
For more information on the NaNoWriMo challenge, visit: http://www.nanowrimo.org/