Reading and Writing by November’s Quiet Light
National Novel Writing Month began in 1999, in San Francisco, with a few friends who decided to challenge themselves and each other to write a novel in one month. Twenty one participated in their little event. By 2010, over 200,000 writers wrote over 2.8 billion words in November.
NaNoWriMo is an internet-based creative writing project for professionals and amateurs around the world. If you’ve ever mumbled to yourself, “I might write a book sometime,” your month has arrived. The challenge is to write 50,000 words between 12:01 AM, November 1, and 11:59 PM November 30. (Minimum word count for a novel is 50,000.) The focus is on completion rather than perfection, and length rather than quality. The object is to FINISH that novel that’s been percolating. Worry about editing later. Writers enter online, where they track their progress, get pep talks and support, and meet fellow writers online and in person. It’s not a contest with prizes. It’s a challenge and an incentive to finish.
There are at least 14 successful NaNoWriMo novels on bookstore shelves. Sara Gruen wrote Water for Elephants during NaNoWriMo. Erin Morgenstern took two Novembers and completed The Night Circus. Others you may have read: Alan Averill, The Beautiful Land; Hugh Howey, Wool; Carrie Ryan, The Forest of Hands and Teeth; Rainbow Roweel, Fangirl; Jessica Burkhart, Take the Reins; Denise Jaden, Losing Faith; Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, The Compound; T. Greenwood, The Hungry Season; Donna Gephart, Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen; Ransom Stephens, The God Patent. These should get you started on your long winter’s reading stack. And who knows? You might write the NaNoWriMo 2017 novel. All you have to do is start. And finish.
I’m caught up with marketing for the time being, editing on SPOKES hasn’t yet begun, and the third Little Beth has gone to the illustrator. I’ve got two completed novels filed, Rebecca & Heart, and Waiting With Elmer. Both have been edited and they are ready for submission. It’s time to begin again. I’ve just missed NaNoWriMo, as always, but once I get started, I stay committed and always finish, eventually. Sometimes I “finish” several times before I submit it! A new idea started floating around in the writing part of my brain during the drive home from Florida on October 31. Maybe I should just get started. There’s a lot of November left. How about you?