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November Events: NaNoWriMo
It's Novel Writing Season
By Kate Hickey
I admit it, I’m one of those girls who loves autumn. It’s the season for me. When the weather breaks, I get to pull most of my clothes out of my closet and finally start wearing what I really like to wear—scarves, boots, cardigans, hoodies, tights, socks, and hats. When the leaves start to fall from trees, it means I get to transition back to hot coffee, which really just is more satisfying than cold coffee. It means that all of the holidays based on eating are on their way and I can put aside my insecurities about my body to eat my weight in Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pies, and Christmas cookies.
But there’s one other autumn event on the horizon that has me squirming with nerves and excitement. It’s almost November, my friends, which means it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month!
National Novel Writing Month—or NaNoWriMo for short—is a yearly event where people put aside time and commit to writing a novel of 50,000 words in the month of November. Instead of re-watching three episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix each evening, people are sitting down and cranking out 1,667 words in order to meet daily word counts. Rather than scrolling Tumblr, checking Twitter, or Facebook stalking exes, determined people sit down in front of their computers on the first November and stand up as authors on the first of December.
This project isn’t about writing your masterpiece on the first go. It’s about just getting something down. The hardest part of writing is convincing yourself to sit down and do it, to put aside all the other crap that feels more productive or less intimidating and just put words on a page into a sentence. This is a word vomit project. It’s entirely quantity over quality. But at the end, you can still say that you’ve written a novel. You have your first draft ready for editing. That’s so much farther than a lot of people get.
I won’t lie to you. NaNoWriMo is hard. It’s about discipline and forgoing some other pleasures for some delayed gratification. But it is absolutely possible. In 2013, there were over 700,000 participants. In 2012, I managed to write my 50,000 words while taking six college courses! To date, it’s one of my proudest personal achievements.
Of course, writing alone is scary. But you can find and form groups and communities through the NaNoWriMo website and message boards. It’s likely that there’s already a local group for you to join who meet up to write together!
I’m sure that there’s a story simmering around in your head. It’s been there for a long time, and you have never taken the time to sit down and write it. There’s still almost a whole week until November first. You have time to make your plans, to make a promise to yourself, or to write an outline. Have you ever wanted to write a book? This is your chance!
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