It is November 7th, and thus concludes (at 11:59:59) the first week of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This is an annual event that I have participated in for 10 years, won a couple of times, and will continue until I die. I assume.
NaNoWriMo started in 1994 by a daring bunch of friends in San Francisco who each wanted to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Since then it has developed an international and online presence with over 288,000 people registered to attempt the 50K challenge–not to get confused with a running marathon.
By now I have done NaNo enough times that I no longer start to stop 30 pages deep into my notebook, but I plow all the way through. The difficult part is rewriting and “perfecting” a story for traditional publication. Writing for fun and writing for publication require two different mindsets, and one of them I cannot work with. So this year I am rewriting to turn my strung-together story into a pleasing read–for my mom and my inner editor.
Now I am avoiding psyching myself out.
Perks of recent years in NaNoWriMo are the local groups. The official website has pages for local chapters (pun not intended). I can enter a chat room with others from my area to talk about our stories and write in word wars. Word wars are when a group of writers set a time limit such as 10 minutes and write as many words as possible. After the 10 minutes everyone shares how many words they wrote and sometimes share a sentence.
To me, writing has always been a solo pursuit, but after my experience last year with the chat rooms I was addicted. Days into December and I was having NaNo withdrawals. It was horrible. I write this with a smile.
Good luck other NaNoers!