If you're anything like me, you felt a change in the air on October 1. Something shifted in the artistic atmosphere, something wild and crazy that send a rush of adrenaline pumping through your veins. All over the world, writers began whispering, anticipating and feeling marvelous excitement at what was just around the corner. And if you listened carefully, you could hear the collective sound of shiny new story ideas being unwrapped and plunked down into eager waiting minds.
It was a moment of inspiration. It was the beginning of NaNoWriMo season.
What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? To put it succinctly, it is glorious literary abandon. You see, in the writing world, the entire month of November has been designated National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. "NaNoWriMo," or simply "NaNo," depending on how lazy you are). Participants have from midnight on November 1 until midnight on November 30 to pen 50,000 words or more (about a 175-page novel), which translates to about 1,667 words per day.
Now, let's be clear about one thing: If you're the type of writer who simply must make every phrase sing before it hits the paper or computer screen, this event is not for you. This is your excuse to write absolutely unpublishable garbage, because, as the folks at NaNo's Office of Letters and Light like to say, "It's all about quantity, not quality." It's a time for writers everywhere to tie up their Inner Editors, put duct tape over their mouths and lock them in a closet. After all, there's gotta be a diamond in the rough somewhere, right?
Writers sign up from literally all over the globe to join in on the chaos; over 165,000 took part last year! Not bad for a gig that started out with a mere 21 brave souls back in 1999 :)
So, as you've probably already guessed, yours truly will be geared up and ready to go come November 1. This will be my third year participating in NaNo, and I'm more excited now than I've ever been. I've never reached that elusive goal of 50K words, but I have a good feeling that this third time will be the charm. Why? First, I've got a shiny new idea that's a doozy, if I do say so myself! I've gotten great feedback on it so far. Second, this year I discovered that when it comes to NaNoWriMo I'm definitely a "plotter," not a "pantser" (Want to know what those are? Stay tuned!). Finally and most importantly, I'm kind of a poor loser, and I really don't want to go through all of the late nights and caffeinated beverages it takes to survive November without having my 50K to show for it.
Whew! If you're new to the game, consider this your official introduction to National Novel Writing Month. If you're a bit of a veteran, now's the time for you to jump in and share your words of wisdom with the newbies. What are your secrets to reaching 50K? How do you stay motivated during the tough times? And of course, the most critical question of all: which snacks do you reach for when hunger strikes?