People talk about writing novels all the time, but how many of us actually do it?
As it turns out, quite a few.
NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month. Each year, writers all around the world keep their pens and pencils poised and ready for November, when they join a community of aspiring and practicing writers in writing their own novels.
From the NaNoWriMo website:
“Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.”
While “quantity over quality” isn’t the best way to approach finalized writing, it can be a very effective form of prewriting (freewriting). I’d encourage writers to take part in this activity if only to silence that internal voice we all have which nags No, that’s not good or I’m a terrible writer. By completing the writer’s equivalent of a marathon, you’ll be able to sit down in front of your finished novel and say to that internal critic Yes, I did that.