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Can you hear it thundering behind you?
Running at full speed, the NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and very soon, the participants will be plodding away at their daily word counts to achieve the goal of writing an entire novel in the 30 days of November. It may sound intimidating, but the NaNoWriMo provides excellent physical and virtual support for accomplishing something that is on the bucket list of many of us—writing a novel.
NaNoWriMo is the short, and somewhat lyrical, name for the National Novel Writing Month, and each year, participants from around the world sign up for this contest. The winners write all of their pledged 50,000 words in 30 days.
For all of the skeptics, there are some simple things that make this event (and winning) possible.
Writing takes practice. Ira Glass in an interview about writing says that, as readers, we have good taste in reading books—presumably because we have been doing it for many years. When you first start writing, you become painfully aware of the difference between the words that we write and the words written by those established authors who have published books currently on your Goodreads list. Often, the chasm between our writing and our taste is so great that it stops some writers cold in their tracks.
This is the space where the NaNoWriMo thrives. In the 30 days you have to write 50,000 words, there is really no time to criticize your work. We all have relationships, jobs, and other life commitments. At best, you only have a few hours per day to work on your story. If you are going to complete your promised word count, you will need to use every bit of that time putting words on paper.
This aligns perfectly with the motto of the NaNoWriMo—Kill Your Inner Editor. Do you remember that thing Ira Glass was talking about—that voice that tells you that your writing is childish, or the voice who asks, “Who would want to ready my story?” Well, that is your inner editor, and he/she must die for at least the month of the NaNoWriMo.
Without diving deep into a pool of psychological evaluation, your inner editor is often responsible for the first road block to getting words onto paper. That inner editor may start criticizing your writing while the words are still in your head—making it much harder to get that story out of your brain and onto paper.
During your month of “writing with abandon,” the NaNoWriMo machine sends you a slew of well-timed emails to help you through the various emotional states of writing a novel. The impeccable timing of those messages will also remind you that you are not alone—other writers have felt what you are feeling before.
NaNoWriMo also puts you in contact with other writers who have also pledged to write their novel that month. Online, you are connected with your virtual team of writers with whom you can communicate electronically through the Website. There are also organized events where writers will take over a coffee shop, for example, for the purpose of writing together. These events are a lot like working out with a buddy. You still have to lift the weights yourself, but somehow the motivation is a bit stronger when you are doing it with someone else.
I will be posting more about the NaNoWriMo in the next few weeks, but if you have ever thought about getting that story out of your head and onto paper, this could be your year!
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