If that title sounded a bit like jibberish, I’m sure you’re not alone in thinking so.
But in honor of November, or as many writers refer to it, National Novel Writing Month (Yes, that’s NaNoWriMo for short!), I thought it might be fun to pull back the curtain on this nerve-wracking yet exciting writing tradition.
For many writers, the month of November means participating in a writing marathon in which the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, starting on the 1st of November and ending on the 30th. That comes out to roughly 1,666 words a day! Thus, giving them either a short novel or about half of a long novel, all written in one month. (Here’s the website if you want to check it out or join in the fun! https://nanowrimo.org) In 2017 alone, there were 402,142 participants!
Crazy, right? Yeah, it sort of fits the M.O. of authors anyway. We tend to be an odd group— locking ourselves away, talking to imaginary friends, gleeful at killing people off (only on the page, of course), laughing and crying with our characters, all-the-while wrestling with crippling self-doubt… but I digress.
For many of my writer friends, doing the NaNoWriMo challenge gives them the invisible jetpack they needed to get some words on the page and boost their writing confidence and stamina. I happen to know our very own RRC writer, Mikal Dawn ( https://www.facebook.com/mikaldawnauthor) is kicking the proverbial patootie on her wordcount! Keep at it, girl! See you on the other side!
So, one thing I love about NaNoWriMo-ing is the community aspect. There are write-ins, where you can meet up with other writers from your area to chat, write, and commiserate. There are Facebook groups (I’m a part of one!) and support groups through nanowrimo.org, where you can get the pep talk or virtual high-five you need to keep going. There are personal achievement badges for meeting word count goals, and it’s so satisfying to put in those numbers for the day!
It’s not for everyone, there is some internal pressure, depending on how serious you take it. As a writer, you have to decide if a little extra push to get those words down is just what you needed or too anxiety-inducing, therefore turning you into a deer in the headlights.
For those who participate, it’s definitely a mental sprint to the finish line!
This brings me to my own NaNoWriMo-ing experience. I first participated as a newer writer about 8-9 years ago, back when I was still writing speculative fiction. It was a great push, more like a shove, for me to get some words down and helped me to write more consistently even after the month was done. I’ve never ‘won’ as they say, meaning hit the 50,000 words, but every November I try to participate in some way.
This NaNoWriMo I’m focusing on a plot outline, research, rewriting, and adding about 10,000 words to a partially completed manuscript. Not the enormous word-poundage some of my fellow writers are attempting, but it’s a great start on a project that needs lots of help. So if I achieve that, I will consider myself a winner! And what I’m most excited for is just seeing this story, a story I had put away on the ‘shelf’ until my agent heard a little about it and said, “Now that’s the story I want to hear.” As a writer, it doesn’t get any better than that. We live to tell stories, and not only that, we love it when our stories resonate with people.
So, as my research and writing take me through the untamed beauty of the North Shore of Minnesota and the fascinating world of the Great Lakes barges, food trucks, and bookmobiles, I salute my fellow writers— no matter what you’re up to this month! May your words nor your coffee ever run dry!
And, for those of you who encounter one of these brave souls— you’ll know by the slightly vacant expression and keyboard-print on their faces where they’ve passed out on their computers —please give them a pat on the back and a tall espresso, will you?
Have you ever attempted a feat most would consider crazy or impossible?
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo? Did you ‘win’?
A born and bred Midwesterner, Mollie Rushmeyer makes her home in central Minnesota with her husband and two spunky, beautiful daughters. From a young age, she loved putting words to page and dreamed of becoming an author. As an inspirational contemporary romance and women’s fiction writer, she loves to bring stories of hope to messy, prodigal gals just like her.
She’s an active member of ACFW and is the Vice President of her local chapter. In her “spare” time she lives out her Lois Lane fantasies as a local print journalist, writes encouraging online content for Crosswalk and iBelieve, is an outdoors enthusiast, a passionate champion for the freedom of human trafficking victims, loves to sing and read, and enjoys full-time employment as a monkey-catcher… ahem, mommy.
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