National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) often called Nano for short runs throughout the month of November. What is Nano and why are half a million people around the world expected to set forth on this adventure of literary mayhem? The aim of Nano is to write a novel in 30 days and the 'rules' are that you must submit 50,000 words to the NaNoWriMo website by 23.59 on 30 November.
Last year I made an aborted attempt to write my first novel - I failed. I failed miserably. 2013 is Nano's fourteenth year and I have discovered from reading the Nano blogs, forums, twitter feeds and it's Facebook page that the reason I failed is I put myself under too much pressure to write, when I should have been using those efforts to simply write. Write anything.
In order to 'win' Nano this year, I have decided to be a Nano Rebel. Instead of setting myself a target of writing 50,000 words in 30 days (that's a smidge over 1,666 words every day) I will disregard targets and ignore my word count. I hope to write my novel in 30 days and if the word count at midnight on 1st December exceeds 50K then great, if not, I've still hacked together a first draft of my novel, right?
Considering I failed so miserably to write more than a few thousand words last year, I'm wondering if I'll be capable of keeping myself motivated and that's where the Nano community come in. The NaNoWriMo staff sends encouraging pep-talk emails from well-known authors to your inbox regularly throughout the month and there are the excellent forums where past and current participants post helpful encouragements to those of us dreading the next one thousand six hundred and sixty six words. See what I did there?
Winning Nano is also much more likely with a writing partner - which is why my wife of 13 years has recruited me into the Nano fold once again. We both have a dream to see our book ideas transfer from idle thoughts into the real publishing world. Reaching that 50,000 goal is much more likely with the encouragement of others and that is why Nano also has meet-ups in every region around the globe. Meet with other participants, who often call themselves Nanos or Wrimos, and swap stories (not your novel stories, obviously). How do they juggle Nano with their ordinary lives? How well did they do in previous years? Meeting other writers can be both an inspiration and a hindrance. It is not my intention to attend any meet-ups, since I consider that valuable time that I could be using to write, instead of talking about words I might write.
So how will I do this? How will I achieve 50,000 words by late evening on Saturday 30 November? The short answer is, I do not know. I could plan everything to the literal letter, but that would feel too much like a military operation to me. My plan is to write, simply write. I intend to let my imagination run wild and hope to write something every single day of November.
Join me and see if your inner author can write a novel in 30 days. Perhaps you will do better than I. What have you got to lose, except time in front of the television watching other great writer dreams become a reality? The best place to start is http://www.nanowrimo.org