Always wanted to write the "Great American Novel" but put it off because of any myriad of reasons (didn't know where to start, needed motivation, general procrastination)? Well, this is your month to turn over a new leaf (of writing paper)!
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is currently taking place, and as you can see, we're a bit late on this one ourselves (our good friend procrastination stopped by again!) But seriously, it's hard when you are always reading all the other great books already out there!)
So, what's this NaNoWriMo all about, you ask? Established in 1999, their mission is to organize events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Via their website and social media, the idea of National Novel Writing Month is designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.
The "goal" is to write a 50,000-word novel within a month's time. I put "goal" in quotes because, quite honestly, I find that goal subjective. But more on that in a little bit.
For a frame of reference as to how long 50,000 words is, here are a few novels in that word-count range:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (50,061 words)
- Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (47,192 words)
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (46,333 words)
Now, back to that "goal"...
Sure, it's a noble gesture to try and write a fully formed novel in a month's time, but don't let that possibly insurmountable task deter you from participating. I like to see the idea of National Novel Writing Month as more of a kick in the ass to just be creative. When you think about it, all you need is an idea and a pen and paper to write it down or a keyboard to type it all out. What have you got to lose?
Here's some other goals you could shoot for during the month:
- Just the simple act of giving something new a try.
- Meeting fellow writers and creative people online or in person.
- Turn off social media and tune in to your own mind to find focus.
- Finally, use it as another reason to swing by your local neighborhood library! There's plenty of literary inspiration to soak up, interesting places to settle in and write, or if you have a research question, plenty of knowledgeable librarians you can ask questions about on every subject under the sun!
And hey, if you do complete the 50,000 word challenge within the month, you might be able to get your work published like these past NaNoWriMo writers:
You'll never know unless you give it a try! And really, if you are writing and being creative, hopefully that is reward enough alone.