Thursday, November 3, 2011

National Novel Writing Month

Can you write a novel in a month?

Writing a novel in a month seems like an absurd thing to do, and an impossible task, but for some reason I took the challenge.

Right now, I am doing great on the word count, but it is only the beginning, so the adreniline of a new project is still pushing me.

I did the challenge back in 2009, when I was under the classification of a stay-at-home dad. I didn't have the distractions of a regular job to get in the way of my writing. I won't say that being a stay-at-home dad didn't have distractions, but young children tend to nap, so I had extra time to write--quiet time.

What are the benefits of writing a novel in a month?.

1. You set a goal. This goal is important, like any self-help book will tell you. The website isn't going to come to your house and yell at you if you don't write everyday, but they do send out e-mails that include little pep talks.

2. You learn to write on the days you don't feel that motivated. There is something to be said about writing everyday, and not because it is something a writing teacher might tell you, but it has more do with the fact you learn more by doing and not by wishing you could write. The amount of writing that needs to be done everyday by a writer is specific to the writer, but during the challenge it probably a good idea to write 1,667 words a day.  

3. You can find other writers in your are to talk to about writing. The NANOWRIMO website is setup in a way that you can find people in your area that are taking the same challenge you are, and these same people tend to get together during the month. This sense of community is good for that extra motivation a writer needs during the weeks of November. It isn't easy to work by yourself, and getting together with other writers is good for the writers psyche.

4. You learn why writers also have substance abuse problems. Just kidding, not all writers have a substance abuse problem. 

5.You actually write a novel. The finished product might not be worthy of publishing, but with a little work or a lot of work it will lead to something you can brag about. You might only brag to your family, or if you have a blog or facebook page, maybe you can brag there too.

There is a lot a writer can learn by trying to write as fast as they can, without listening to the censor while working. The censor in the head can kill a really creative day, and knowing that you need to get 50,000 words by the end of November should allow the writer to allow the story to go in directions they probably wouldn't of thought of it there wasn't a tight deadline. The writer will find plenty of time to revise after November.

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