NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month
Virtually all the writers I know, and a whole lot of readers, know that November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo. Many authors participate, typing their fingers to the bone as they strive to reach that golden mark: 50,000 words and a novel written. Writers don’t have to stop at 50,000 words, but they do have to reach that mark in order to display the “winner” badge on their site or blog.
I know quite a few authors who are participating this year, and who have participated in years past. Most make it to the goal. I’m not participating, nor have I ever. My longer novels were all written before NaNoWriMo came into being, and these days, I write 40-45,000 word novels. I don’t want to “pad” my material in order to win a distinction that is more about spurring on writers who don’t turn out work as quickly as I do.
Although outlining, plotting, and character sketches are all allowed before NaNoWriMo begins, there’s no requirement for quality in the end product. It is unfortunate, but the book doesn’t have to be readable or at all polished. It does not have to be publishable. Nor do I think it’s honestly possible to write a full-length novel in a month and have it be ready for prime time.
However, all those caveats aside, most of the writers I interact with on a daily basis make a huge and commendable effort to get the job done within a month. A slew of them succeed, too. To those people, and the many writers who might not quite get through but who try hard, I commend you. NaNoWriMo is nothing to be sneered at. It’s a big challenge, and a respectable one.