It’s October 15th, which means only sixteen more days until November 1st, the start of National Novel Writing Month (henceforth called by its common abbreviation, NaNo).
I have participated in NaNoWriMo since 2005, after I discovered it in late November of 2004 while working on a research paper (on a totally unrelated topic, strangely enough). I haven’t won every year, but winning isn’t the point for me. The point is that NaNo helps me get words on a page. This is because, while I try to write every day, NaNo gives me the looming pressure of a deadline. You can’t convince November to grow a couple more days (believe me, I’ve tried), you can’t fudge with an excuse, nothing. Thirty days, 50,000 words, that’s it.
And for me, that’s fantastic. It’s also the reason I participated in Script Frenzy back before it turned into Camp NaNoWriMo, and it’s the reason I participate in Camp NaNoWriMo. In every case, there are hard deadlines which provoke me to write more. Those deadlines help me set aside my hang-ups, my hints of perfectionism, everything that tries to hold me back the rest of the year, and I blaze through, writing like a maniac.
It’s also a lot of fun. For one month, people in the same general area set aside time to go out and sit together and write. There’s this great community atmosphere. And it doesn’t go away the rest of the year, but it’s a lot easier during NaNo because everyone knows NaNo’s coming and so they make time for write-ins for one month.
Yes, I know, NaNo isn’t for everyone. But it’s for a lot of people, and it’s fun for a lot of the people who participate (I won’t presume by saying all or most). If you’ve never given it a try, consider it this year (or for next year if sixteen days seems like too little time to prep an idea).
Let me know if you’re participating, and we can cheer each other on.