Every November something strange happens. Thousands of writers hunker down, writing until their fingers cramp and their eyes blur. A few stagger from their homes, blinking at the now foreign sun, to meet with other writers in coffee shops and libraries where they flip open their laptops, and that’s correct…write some more.
And so it goes….they write and they write some more. They don’t stop to edit. They don’t listen to their muses whine. They brush the internal editor off of their shoulders and they just write.
But why? What brings on this somewhat terrifying phenomena?
National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo started in 1999 with 21 participants and six winners (writers who completed 50,000 words in the 30 days of November). In 2009 there were 167,150 participants and 32,178 winners. Quite a jump, especially considering that winning doesn’t come with prizes – no read by a big name agent, no cash and outside of the other writers in NaNoWriMo, no glory.
The Internet, of course, plays a huge part in NaNoWriMo’s growth and success. Through the official site, writers can share their word counts, join teams, and even arrange in person “write-ins.”
NaNoWriMo makes the solidary task of writing a social and competitive event. And in the end, if you “win” you have 50,000 words, a very decent start to a novel or if you write for shorter market a complete manuscript.
What writer could resist that?
To sign up, visit the official NaNoWriMo site. While you’re there check out the forums, maybe join a team or look for a write-in planned for your area. Then come back here to the How to Write Shop where we will be posting articles to help you keep writing through the hard cold days of November, better known as NaNoWriMo.
And in case at this point you’re wondering…why do it? If I force my writing it will just all be crap anyway, right?
Because as you have most likely often heard a page of crap is a lot easier to revise than a page of nothing.
Go forth. Write crap. You’ve got all of December to revise.
p.s. Want a pep talk from a big name author? NaNoWriMo can do that too.