There are about three days until National Novel Writing Month begins, bringing with it the reckless abandon and writerly angst that we all know and love so well. As most of you are aware, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo for years now – this will be my sixth event! – and I am a stalwart champion of the cause.
For any of you who happen to be unaware of NaNoWriMo, the premise is simple: write 50,000 words of fiction in the month of November and try not to alienate your loved ones permanently. For some people, producing that much in 30 days is a pretty tough challenge. For others, they end up tripling the goal before they’re through. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle, and tend to finish up around Week 3 before pushing on to about 60,000.
But no matter when you finish, or what you finish, or if you finish, you get to experience a sense of community and global creativity that really has no equal. You get to learn about other people’s creative processes, and browse through summaries of stories that you’d never even dream of being able to write yourself. I find it really refreshing to see how other people work, and to see that I’m not alone with the methods I employ to get my ideas on paper.
NaNoWriMo also provides me with a sense of accountability that really helps me push towards my goals. It may just be a little chart on my profile page, but seeing those bars inch upward a few pixels every time I update my word count is a pretty good motivation.
This year, I’ll be working on drafting the fourth book of The Dreamer’s Shadow series, called Dark the Wayward Dawn. It’s the final chapter in Arran Swinn’s story (at least, it’s supposed to be), and there will be a lot of complicated plotting to get through in order to tie up all the loose ends, kill all the right people, and save the world.
It’s my favorite sort of writing. There are things that must happen, because they’ve been written into the story so far, but there are so many different ways to get to the end of the line. I get to experience the delight of having new ideas pop up and make the next two or three steps of the journey instantly clear before having to piece together more of the puzzle again in order to move forward.
I hope at least some of you will join me on November 1 by tying up your inner editors, shoving them in an abandoned storage unit in Secaucus, and letting yourself take the next 30 days to see what comes from letting your brain go wild. Not only can you sign up on the website for free, but you can also add me as a friend so we can hang out virtually and be awesome together.
For those who are about to write, I salute you!