Think of a writer. What do you see? A solitary figure scribbling away in a musty garret? A lone figure on a beach or writing in a cabin in the woods?
Sure, writing can be a lonely, introspective undertaking, but these days—even if you live in a remote area—you can receive encouragement and meet others pursuing the writing life. With today’s connections on the internet, support for your effort to live your writer’s dream is close. In fact, only a click away.
This month (November 1st – 30th) is National Novel Writing Month, or Nano as it is affectionately called by those who jump into this grand adventure. Hundreds of thousands of writers from across the world sign up and become part of the Nano community, encouraging each other and sharing achievements, plans and dreams. And they (er…we) also accomplish writing. Lots of it. Last year, Nano participants wrote 2,427,190,537 words.
The challenge of Nano (www.nanowrimo.org) is for each Wrimo (the term for Nano participants) to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Okay, I hear screams and groans, and I bet a bunch of you just clicked off the page! Please, hear me out. This is an opportunity not to be missed.
50,000 words? No way!!! Here’s a confession. Several years ago, after I made the 50,000 word goal, I threw most of my manuscript away. Now I set a goal of 30,000 words for myself, and I make it. At the end of November I have pages that become part of a finished manuscript. I’ve completed 2 novels written in part at Nano, both of them published. The point is for you to discover that you can write faster than you ever dreamed possible and actually finish your novel. So find a number that is a challenge yet achievable, and go for it!
NaNoWriMo Works for Nonfiction too! You can still keep track of your word count, see your progress on your Nano thermometer, and get all the tools and goodies. There are plenty of participants who write memoirs, biographies, creative nonfiction, etc. They call themselves “Nonfiction Outlaws.” Break those rules, people! It’s all good. Honestly.
But I like people and face-to-face interaction! Nano is the perfect place for you. Nano groups get together, often writing at bookstores, coffee houses, and other appropriate literary places. There are regional core groups, plus many smaller gatherings focusing on genres or even writing times. One group is known for writing “Dangerously at Night.” There is a place where you and your project will fit, whether in cyberspace or at a local meeting place during one of Nano’s many in-the-flesh write-ins. The forums are filled with people eager to meet others and expand their writing community.
Nano proves writing is not just work, but fun too. The satisfaction of finishing your novel? Priceless. So sign up for NaNoWriMo and if you do, become my writing buddy I’m katosteffen on the Nano roster, and I’m proud to be a Wrimo. I’ll be thrilled to cheer for you and your writing goals as you cheer mine.