National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants?
Registration date : 2011-08-17
|Subject: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:15 am|| |
For those of you who are also interested in writing prose fiction, whether or not you've actually done so, have you heard of or participated in NaNoWriMo?
Although it stands for National Novel Writing Month, it's more of an international endeavor these days. The rules are fairly simple but I won't bother repeating them all here. The gist of it is that you sit down and, sometime between November 1st and November 30th of any particular year, cough up a novel of 50,000 words or more.
For most writers and non-writers alike this sounds like an exercise in pain and futility, and not to put too fine a point on it, yes, it could very well be one. However, it does have some redeeming features. Arguably its main point is that the challenge of writing so much prose fiction in such a short amount of time requires most successful participants to write without self-editing.
What's wrong with self-editing? It's often required for good writing. However, it's also what keeps most aspiring authors stuck in aspiring mode. NaNoWriMo actively promotes a write now/edit later philosophy.
The second major point of NaNoWriMo is that the intentionally artificial time period is in no way selected to be convenient. It's not during summer vacation. In many countries, there are significant holidays in November, such as Thanksgiving. The month's not even 31 days long. There are always obstacles to writing, and so NaNoWriMo is like a writer's obstacle course.
The first two points are challenges. It's why this is a contest of sorts, albeit one that's entirely based on the honor system. The last point, as I see it, is something of an encouragement. A lot of people participate in NaNoWriMo. Hundreds of thousands of people participate, from all around the world. If you do it, you'll be in it together.
Yes, you're responsible for your own novel, but everywhere, every day and every night in November, there will be other people struggling with their novels. Some will be making headway. Many more will be stuck. However well you do, whether you "win" or "lose," there will be others who follow a trajectory close to your own.
NaNoWriMo isn't for everyone, not by a long shot, but I consciously put a positive spin on it in this post because I'm intending to go for it again this year. Most years I fail to accomplish it, but not every year. Right now, I'm curious if anyone's done it before or is planning to do it in November. I'll probably ask again as Halloween comes up, because I'm sure that knowing one or more Brothers of Briar are doing this thing will be an added pick-me-up.
I'm looking forward to tackling this NaNoWriMo with a pipe in hand, for the first time.
(I originally posted this to the Writers thread, but on second thought, I think it's sufficiently tangential to that conversation to warrant its own thread.)
Age : 67
Location : Ascension Parish
Registration date : 2008-04-22
|Subject: Re: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:34 pm|| |
It was a dark and stormy night...
Location : Raleigh, NC
Registration date : 2011-10-21
|Subject: Re: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:45 pm|| |
My daughter, who lives and works in Japan, does this every year. When she was in high school, her friend group all either wanted to write, or be involved in some way with books. So they called themselves The Pagemasters. They now do a podcast every week under the name Pendragon Variety. One is now a librarian, the rest still write, with IMHO one of them very likely to succeed one day in being a published author.
Age : 41
Location : Land of Steady Habits
Registration date : 2008-05-26
|Subject: Re: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:26 pm|| |
I've done NaNo in three years, meeting the goal once and coming damned close another. As a poet, long prose bedevils me, and this was a good way to break my hangups about it.
In my experience, NaNo is a great exercise, so long as you don't expect the novel itself to be the "reward." If it does turn out well enough to be "real," bonus, but it's beside the point.
Not trying this year... work and the four-week-old baby (which I co-authored) are my projects.
Age : 42
Location : Kentucky
Registration date : 2011-07-28
|Subject: Re: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Thu Oct 27, 2011 12:43 pm|| |
Thank you for reminding me of this! Last year I found out about it and wished I had participated. I have had ideas rolling around in my head but never made the time to put them on paper.
I picked up an interesting thought somewhere along the way that I want to share. I do so as much for me as for anyone else who it may help:
There are many people who are comfortable with the idea of being an armature musician or athlete, playing as a hobbyist on the weekends or around a campfire. Even if their talent level is low they may still be proud of the fact that they play basketball in a rec league or pick up the guitar on the weekends. They have no aspirations beyond the simple enjoyment of their hobby and do not pine away for the day that they” turn pro" or get discovered by a Major League scout. Their friends and family do not regularly ask them when they will sign a record deal.
Few seem to take this same approach when it comes to writing. When it comes to writing there seems to be few people who would proudly call themselves an amateur or hobbyist writer. Armature or people who are considering taking up the craft tend to be sheepish or embarrassed by the fact that they write or want to write. “So you want to write for a living?” It is assumed that if you write the only acceptable goal is to eventually write full time and become published. People only seem to have three categories: non writer, frustrated writer pining away until they get their break, and successful published author.
Why not just write for the fun of it? Why not say “Yeah I wrote a novel last year. It may not be that good but I had a lot of fun doing it. If you want to read it I can email it to you. It’s a great hobby.” Taking this view of writing does not preclude the idea of working hard at it or sending it off to publishers. By no means! It just means that we do not have to be embarrassed about the fact that we write but have never been published, or embarrassed that we may not be that good. Is the overweight 40 year old embarrassed that he plays left field in the local softball “beer league”? Of course not! He just enjoys playing. We need to have room for the “overweight 40 year old beer league” writer. That’s who I aspire to be (not that I’m against being published…)
Age : 69
Location : Hemel Hempstead, Herts, U.K.
Registration date : 2011-11-22
|Subject: Re: National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants? Wed Nov 23, 2011 5:29 am|| |
I signed up for that some years ago, but half-way through realised I'd never hit the target. Some people had already hit it!
On the website, you could read short extracts from fellow-contestants' work. Some were not bad, some were unreadable. There was also a forum, though how anyone found the time both to write their novel at the necessary rate to hit 50,000 words in a month and post on a forum, I don't know. I did try to continue the novel, but my computer crashed, and I lost the lot, because I didn't have it backed up. Lesson learned. I may try again some day: I could probably reconstruct what I'd written, more or less, and I've had a few ideas for other characters and incidents in the intervening years (it was to be a fairly light, undemanding romcom with lots of other sub-plots set amongst a church congregation).
National Novel Writing Month, Any Potential Participants?