National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short), takes place in November. It challenges writers to turn out fifty thousand words in 30 days, which might seem like a lot, but for most full time writers, it really isn't.
For example, when I'm working on a book that's properly plotted and researched my average is over twenty five hundred words per day, six days a week. It's a pace I grew accustomed to during 2008, when I pledged to write every day of the year. I missed fewer than a dozen days, and found that I'd grown into writing as a continual habit by 2009.
That's what NaNoWriMo is all about, writing for long enough, often enough and consistently enough so it becomes a habit, something you just do like brushing your teeth, breathing, or shovelling the step in winter. I won NaNoWriMo, finishing with over fifty thousand words in November even though I was still planning for most of the time. I also rediscovered my deep hatred of word counts.
Most NaNoWriMo books are dropped at the end of November because the focus is on quantity, not quality, so most authors discover that writing can be a part of every day life to some extent, so future works benefit a great deal. Some authors even do word sprints (timed writing sprees between 15-60 minutes long), long after NaNoWriMo is over. If that's part of your process, fantastic.
I enjoyed word sprints when I was writing in a person to person group. The company of other writers in the same room was a nice change, and the collective creativity there was astounding. Did I get a lot of writing done during those events? I certainly did, and I appreciate the work of our coordinator and other volunteers, who did a fantastic job this year.
What does winning NaNoWriMo mean to me?
Well, I got most of the way through a book I was writing anyway, and I met some impressive writers who had a great deal of determination. Will I participate next year? I certainly will in some capacity, but I won't be tracking my word count. I already write over three hundred days a year, it's a part of life. My focus is on creating quality work so I can entertain my readers in new and exciting ways. If there's some way I can help others do that next year, then I'll gladly step up.