It’s almost here…National Novel Writing Month! The goal: Put 50,000 words to paper (or word processor, pick your medium of choice) before the end of November. 1667 words a day. Sound easy? It is…for the first few days. You’re starting something new…new characters, new problems, maybe even a new world if your thing is sci-fi/fantasy.
Then you start working on a plot, and second guessing yourself and begin worrying about revision. Not to mention, depending on whatever cultural traditions you adhere to, you have about three or four days where you’re surrounded by family, including nieces and nephews who keep bothering you to watch them play Batman: Arkham City. Well, those are the complications I’ve faced in the past, anyway.
I first heard about NaNo a couple of years ago, but didn’t participate in earnest until last year. There are two schools of thought in the community; ‘Planners’, who spend October hammering out outlines and character sketches and what not, and ‘Pantsers’, so named for their tendency to write by the seat of their pants. I’m a natural procrastinator, so put me firmly in the ‘Pantser’ category. It’s disorganized, chaotic and stressful, and it’s a blast.
I kept up fairly well, but miscalculated and ended up having to spend the last day squeezing 6000 words out of my brain, not an easy task when you’re second or even triple guessing everything you’re putting down.
But that’s what NaNo is about…it’s about finding the freedom to write, and to write BADLY. It’s about expunging all the crappy metaphors and melodramatic scenarios you secretly wish were okay to put down on paper, but would make anyone else eye-roll so hard the force would tear the skull from their spinal chord.
It’s about throwing caution to the wind and letting the story run rampant on the page without any sense, allowing yourself and your characters to be a little bit goofy. It’s supposed to be about fun. It’s about letting loose with a 500 quintillion megaton imagination H-Bomb on the world and reveling in the destruction.
Sifting through the fallout, picking through the wreckage and finding something salvageable…that’s what January is for.
So, if you happen to be reading this and are a writer who hasn’t heard of NaNoWriMo, check out the event’s page at NaNoWriMo.org. Hope to see you there!