Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Despite its name, it’s a world-wide phenomenon, and the premise is that writers challenge each other to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Authors coalesce into groups to share word counts, hold each other accountable, and offer support and encouragement.
It seems like an unlikely goal, writing a whole novel in just thirty days. But broken down, it requires an average of just 1,667 words per day. The real trick is to be consistent about it. Most aspiring writers have day jobs, and many of them have spouses, kids, friends, and hobbies with claims on their spare time—not to mention game seven of the World Series (that’s tonight, by the way). So banging out almost two thousand words in one sitting isn’t something most of us can do on a daily basis. My own approach is to start in the morning, cup of tea by my side, and get five or six hundred words down. If I’m lucky, I can squeeze a couple hundred more on a lunch break, and maybe another hundred or so before or after dinner. That makes a thousand words on a work day, which leaves about seven thousand more words on the weekend. That should be easy to do, except for shopping, visiting friends, traveling, etc. And if you already have a book out, there’s marketing, blogging, and the other activity that goes along with it.
It’s easy to see why a support group is necessary.
Since I’m already writing a book, I’ll obviously be participating, even though I expect to end up with over a hundred thousand words by the end. I’ll simply count how many words I write in November and ignore the fact that it doesn’t constitute a full work (NaNoWriMo is flexible in that respect; the only “requirement” is 50k words). If successful, that would mean about half the book done, putting me ahead of schedule for completion of book two. (I still haven’t thought of a decent title for it yet. I’m thinking of calling it “Book Two.” Catchy, isn’t it?)
Most NaNoWriMo participants are authors who have never published before, or are only recently published. As such, they—or we, I should say—need all the support they can get. As a reader, you can help. I recently joined a group of authors with a giant giveaway promotion on Instafreebie with over 175 free books. This is a great way to find new authors before they get famous and start charging full price. If you’re looking for a new sci-fi or fantasy to read, and don’t have much money to spend, take a look. I’ve already found a few that I’ll be reading—although probably after November.
I’ll be busy in November.