Monday, 3 November 2014

NaNoWriMo ...


November has become globally known as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately called in many scribe-circles. I have participated in this November writing challenge on and off since its inception in 1999.
It wasn’t always a popular wordsmith thing to do and I recall many years back posting NaNoWriMo info to a members’ listserv of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, PWAC, and getting some flack feedback on it being considered ‘unprofessional’.  (Interesting perhaps unrelated side note here that my dictionary defines “bookish” as forming opinions through reading rather than experience.)  Well now … fast forward a decade plus later and it seems all the ‘cool kids’ are doin’ it.
The NaNoWriMo concept is that of a total honour system, one sets out to write daily, hammering out a month long 50,000 word draft novel manuscript. Now 50,000 words hardly constitutes a full on literary long-written tome by scholar standards, but as the site FAQ points out … “Our experiences since 1999 show that 50,000 is a difficult but doable goal, even for people with full-time jobs and children. The length makes it a short novel (about the length of The Great Gatsby). We don’t use the word “novella” because it doesn’t seem to impress people the way “novel” does.”
Much tongue-in-cheek type of humour abounds in the NaNoWriMo FAQ’s and info on the site giving the impression to take this experience lightly and enjoy the writing focused month. But nothing could be more of a juxtaposition than the droll Nano backgrounder info and the overly-enthusiastic member forums. This is a seriously serious month for many posting with little regard to children or full-time jobs. November for the dedicated wrimo is about nothing outside of late-night writing, self-deprivation and the dreams of a best-seller over-night (one-month) success (and the occasional use of too many hyphens).
Writer regions exist world-wide for those who want to dial-in and connect, launch the month, spend countless hours on-line chatting about what they are writing and given the volume of some postings, assuming taking valuable time away from the actual writing. Come to NaNoWriMo for personal reasons, take from it what you want, connect or not connect, post your word count daily if you want. At month end the goal is to spool in your 50,000 word document for a scramble and a word count and delete, earning the writer a virtual badge prize to proudly display. No editing required, no outlines or pre-thought pre-requisites just show up and write.

This 'hobby' writer site is not to be taken lightly, unless you wish to, as many heavy hitters have nailed great success including a reported over 250 NaNoWriMo novels that have been traditionally published. One of my all time favourite reads is a wrimo success story, Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Visit the website and check out the press page and other cool details. Yes there is a greater cause, yes there are things you could purchase and support, but not a requirement to register, hang out as much or as little as you want and above all no rules to writing other than simply just do it! Set a personal goal, a vision of sorts, grab a pen or open a file, and start writing.

NaNoWriMo is not to be confused with Movember … although I am certain there are many unshaven cross over personal goals being met between these two very worthy global month long occasions in what used to be a sleeper of a month. November you are making a real name for yourself!
Enjoy the month no matter what your cause.
Write often, write always … and in November write daily!
(ps … yes I am using my real name at Nano (check out my profile) and am shooting for a 50,000 word first draft of a short story series in development, no I am realistically NOT thinking instant bestseller … but then one can dream …)