Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Novels!

From holiday wish lists to turkey wishbones, we'll soon be entering the season of wishful thinking. What is the wish that tops your list? If it's writing a novel, it will take more than wishing to make it so.

Fortunately, November is the month for you! It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when writers everywhere clear space in their calendars to write a novel in a month. The goal is to have 50,000 words written by November 30--and no one ever said they have to be GOOD words! The process is simple. Starting November 1, just get your story down on paper (or computer file) and out of your head. On November 30 (or earlier, for you overachievers out there), submit your finished oeuvre to While no human will read your work, the word count will be checked robotically, and if you've achieved 50,000 words, you're declared a winner! The prize is your own sense of accomplishment . . . and perhaps the merest hint of self-righteous superiority to those who wasted their time on less worthy activities, like sleeping and showering.

Founder Chris Baty says that November is the ideal month for such a creative endeavor, because the weather is often lousy and many workers get a nice fat four-day weekend toward the end of the month. So sign up anytime at (it's free) to get access to some fun forums, tips, and encouragement. There are even some local in-person gatherings happening in Coeur d'Alene, Moscow, Priest River, and other Idaho locales. Click on the "NaNo Near You" tab for more info on local events.

Next, inform your nearest and dearest what you're up to, so that they won't feel abandoned and may even agree to deliver the snack of your choice to your writing lair at regular intervals. If you're feeling extra-committed, try to arrange for somebody else to cook the Thanksgiving dinner this year, so that you can keep writing right up until the moment the turkey hits the table. (True, you might miss out on some of Uncle Harry's jokes--but hey, you've heard them all before anyway.)

And on November 1, start writing. Best of luck! And whether or not you're participating in NaNoWriMo this month, please check in and let us know how your writing is going. We'd love to hear from you.

1 comment:

Mary Jane Honegger said...

I had lunch with a fellow writer last week and she told me her daughter (a high school senior) is taking the NaNoWriMo challenge! I'll let you know whether or not she makes it happen. Something I've been wanting to do, but...