Twist on National Novel Writing Month

Shield-Nano-Blue-Brown-RGB-HiResNext year I may be ready for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This year, I’m focused on a rewrite of a non-fiction book, writing blog posts and writing copy for my website. It’s a lot of writing, and I admit I’ve been procrastinating.

The other week at a conference I attended, Michele Cook challenged members to participate in NaNoWriMo, even if it was to simply write each day of the month, which is exactly what I’m going to do. I’m clearing my calendar as I’m able. Some days I will write during my lunch hour. Other days, I’ll write in the evening. On a few days, I’m going to have to set my alarm clock to rise early and write. I’ve scheduled it all and noted what I plan to write. If I don’t do that, I’ll find a way to avoid writing.

Michele said she threw out the challenge to get some personal accountability. “Having someone else to answer to helps me stay motivated.” With a 7,000-word novel underway, Michele hopes to get a “solid first draft finished or close to it.” She expects she will need to keep writing past the Nov. 30 deadline to reach her 70,000- to 80,000-word goal.

Julie Campbell, who wrote “The Horse in Virginia: An Illustrated History,” isn’t focused on writing a novel. But she is going to use the month to write and polish an essay and then read it at a local event where she lives.

Diane S. Thieke, whom I met at a writer’s conference, is attempting to write a novel. She said, “I’ve attempted to NaNoWriMo five out of the last six years and failed to write my novel each time! Not an auspicious track record. In fact, my lifetime word count is abysmal — just under 6,000 words. But I keep coming back because I find it inspiring, and I’m convinced that one November, I will write 50,000 words. I’m a terribly inconsistent writer, and I’d like to change that. So this year, my goal is simple: to develop the habit of writing for myself every day. Even if I write just 50 words a day in November, I’ll consider it a success.”

I am inspired about NaNoWriMo, which began in 1999. On November 1, participants begin working toward the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Last year more than 384,000 people worked on their novels. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl are among the NaNoWriMo novels that have been traditionally published, according to the NaNoWriMo website.

Please post in the comment section whether you plan to participate and what your goals are. We can all use the encouragement and cheer for each other.