Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Today officially began National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWrNo (nano nano, anyone?). What is it? A challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Thousands of people across the world have signed up for the challenge. Will they all make it? Doubtful. Is it worth it? Hmmmm. I wasn't really sure until today.

I signed up for the challenge last week. I've always wanted to do it and this was the year. Up until this afternoon, though, I wasn't sure I was going to follow though. It's not like I don't have enough taking up my time this month -- or any month for that matter. And I've never been that ambitious writer who's willing to sacrifice everything for the craft. I have kids, I have a grandchild, I have an elderly mother, I foster animals for a pet rescue group, I bead, and I have tons of housework I've been avoiding for ages and I have two novels in the works. So, the challenge to write a novel in a month's time didn't seem like something I really needed right now. But would anytime be the right time?

I wasn't even sure I was going to make the attempt until I started writing at 2:30 this afternoon. 1753 words later, I'm still dazed. I hadn't expected the words to flow as they did. I hadn't expected the ideas to flow.

When I sat down at the computer, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. No plot, no research, I was writing cold. The challenge of finishing a novel in a month forces me to keep moving forward. There's no time for editing, for refining, or for looking up the perfect word. I couldn't even spend time figuring out the names of my characters. One of them is named after my TV set, another after my favorite Muppets character. I grabbed whatever came to mind and went with it.

It's incredibly freeing to spout out 53,000 words in a month's time. It's made writing fun again. It doesn't matter what I write, just that I write it. And who knows, I may just have the germ of a novel when I finish, one that's worth refining and polishing into a book I can be proud of.

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