Friday, October 31, 2014

Making National Novel Writing Month Work for You, Even if You Aren't Writing a Novel in 30 Days

National Novel Writing Month is ambitious, something writers prepare for months in advance and takes dedication.

Or not.

I write this with the after effects of a sugar rush from Halloween candy on the evening before November. This isn't one of my favorite months. It is cold and bleak, with the trees bare of leaves and the winter gear out of storage for the longest season in Wisconsin. Later this month, people will be crushed to death, sleep deprived, or something trying to get a good deal at Walmart.

As far as I am concerned, NaNoWriMo is a welcome retreat from everything else in November. It is a reason to sit at the keyboard everyday and think about an imaginary world (or dig deeper into real life things, if that is your bag). It is a reason to look at Facebook groups, Twitter, Nano forums and other social networks more often, because they are inspirational. The vibe is fun. Writerly quotes command the internet. The idea of creating a story becomes important and public. People don't care if you refuse to see them so you can stare at your computer. It is ok. It is National Novel Writing Month!

And sometimes, all that inspiration clicks. I have never "won" NaNo, but plenty of others have. There are best selling novels that were born in the month of November. You will probably hear about them in the next 30 days. What I have done is make tremendous progress on first drafts, second, third or fourth drafts, revisions, plotting. All the emphasis on writing makes the writing part of myself more important for one month. Just one month. Then December hits and all the other important stuff takes the lead and I fight for writing time again.

So whether you are writing a novel, doing revisions, thinking about writing a novel, or doing research. Enjoy your month. If you are a writer, November is yours to ignore everything and explore your craft!

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