At the neighborhood diner, friends and I are talking about inspiration. I pipe in with my favorite inspiration. It’s not a book, a person, a Website or writing buddies. Actually it’s a movement, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Chris Baty, author of “No Plot? No Problem!” a low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days, started NaNoWriMo in 1999 with 12 would-be-novelists and since then it has mushroomed.. Really mushroomed! From the official site, it's stated,"In 2006 we had 79,000 participants. Nearly 13,000 crossed the 50k finish line. . . " This year, NaNoWriMo anticipates 80, 000 participants.
Why? Because NaNoWri Mo is a huge adventure based on the premise that you CAN write a book. What if you actually could? Wouldn’t that be incredible? It would be a mountain-top experience. Well, there’s a whole group of people (at least most of the 80, 000 participants) at NaNoWriMo who believe you can. And they’ve laid out a plan.
1. You sign up at http://www.nanowrimo.org/
2. You compose your author’s profile, then click around on the site for forums, t-shirts for sale, friends, advice and facts.
3. Next you write 1, 667 words daily for November’s 30 days. (That’s seven typed pages.)
4. When you finish, you upload your words to the official NaNoWritMo word counter.
All this and more is explained on the Website.
1.) It’s only a month. When it’s over, you have 11 months to do other things.
2.) You’ll join a network of friends doing the same thing. Think of it as an instant community.
3.) You can get help from tons of people. Online forums are a good source, and so are local writing parties you can attend.
4.) Your keyboard skills will improve.
5.) We all know practice makes perfect – or it puts you closer -- and the more you write, the better your writing should become.
6.) It’s the marathon experience for those of us who write instead of run. Whether you finish or not, you’ll be proud of your effort. Writing 50,000 words in a month was a big challenge for me. I wondered if I could do it, but when things got tough I contacted my writing buddies or looked in on one of the helpful online forums -- which brings me to the next reason.
7.) You receive encouragement as well as inspiration. Chris Baty e-mails you weekly and you can always find another buddy willing to cheer you on with Nano mail.
8.) This year could be the year to fulfill one of your “someday, I’ll do it” dreams. Being a novelist doesn’t have to be one of those. Even though the 1,767 words a day seemed a difficult daily goal, I must humbly admit, I succeeded.
9.) You could discover that you’re the next Hemingway, Collins, Brown, Koontz, Patterson, or King -- if you simply give it a shot.
10.) There’s a simple plan on the site, a guidebook, “No Plot, No Problem.” You can purchase or borrow it from the library, plus lots of fellow participants online you can question.
11.) It’s fun. As Chris Baty says, “I learned that writing a novel simply feels great. Slipping into ‘The Zone’ – that place where you become a passive conduit to a story -- exercises your brain in weird, pleasant ways and makes life a little more enchanted.”
12.) It’s free.
13.) Brenda thinks it’s a great idea and would like more writing buddies. When you sign up, you can join my buddy sheet and I’ll be delighted. My NaNoWritMo nickname is Persephanys. I’m still in contact with the friends I made in 2006, my first year.
If you’ve joined National Novel Writing Month in the past, you probably can think of even more reasons why it’s worth a try. Please share.
Disclaimer—I don’t work for National Novel Writing Month. I simply participated in 2006 and I’m looking forward to going through the process again this November.
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