According to National Novel Writing Month organizers, in November 2009 more than 30,000 writers completed a 175-page (or 50,000-word) novel by midnight November 30.
Why? Because sometimes you need to stop obsessing over the details and just write, write, write.
On the NaNoWriMo website it states:
...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.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and--when the thing is done--the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
Of course, few of these novels actually get published, but close to 60 have made it to bookstore shelves.
Tonight NaNoWriMo participants in the Twin Cities are heading to Nina's Cafe in Saint Paul for a kick-off party. People are asked to bring gently used books to donate as part of this year's fundraiser.
A while back MPR's Euan Kerr attended a couple of NaNoWriMo meet-ups in the Twin Cities and had this lovely story.
So, are you ready to take on the challenge?
NaNoWriMo is a valuable tool for teaching writers that you NEVER get it right the first time. The novel you bang out madly in November will take you months to edit and there will be whole passages that need to be re-written, or even deleted entirely.
There is a strong perfectionist streak in many writers, and a month of quantity over quality goes a long way towards controlling that aspect of our personalities. Although 50,000 words is the standard target, there is nothing to stop each writer setting his or her own goal. WriMos (as the participants are called) don't care what you write, when you write or even how much you write; we are there to encourage each other and to learn: about writing, about our stories and about ourselves.
Last year I managed 20,000 words, and it took me until August of this year to finish the first draft. This year I'm aiming for 50,000 words, and I plan to have a first draft finished by the end of the year. Next year, who knows?