Thursday, October 28, 2010

Best Foot Forward

NaNoWriMo. It sounds like some obscure third-world country's dictator. General Nano, at your service.

In many ways, NaNo, as it's affectionately known to its victims, is a dictator, taking over our lives for four weeks. We labor late into the night and rise early to churn out work at a ridiculous rate, chained to our computers, fueled by coffee and chocolate. We become slaves to Nano, "Wrimos" for a month.

A word to the wary uninitiated: Run.

Run while you can, before you are sucked in, enticed by promises of cake and productivity. The lure of having written, after all, is what motivates many of us, through rejection after rejection, through the endless search for suitable markets, through resolving every plot hole and the difficult task of ignoring the encroaching housework in order to finish the next chapter.

The thrill of having written... is there anything like it? That, dear Writer, is the promise of NaNo: At the end of the month, if you apply yourself, if you work as hard as you can, and then harder, if you follow the program to its painful, exacting letter, you will have written a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month of November.

A novel in a month. 1666.6 words a day for thirty days. Fifty-thousand words in all.

Imagine, while others are bragging about the Black-Friday sales they raided, being able to say, "Oh, yes, November was a good month for me, too. I wrote a book."

Not "I intend to write a book". Not "I have this great idea for a novel..."

"I wrote a book."

The most beautiful four words a writer can say embody the delirious pleasure of having written.

Thank you, General Nano. We are your willing slaves, one and all.

~~~

NaNoWriMo Fun Facts:

National Novel Writing Month is a real, official month. Not a holiday, mind you. Who in their right mind would spend a holiday making themselves insane trying to crank out a novel? It is, however, a chance to finally put pen to paper, to kill off the Procrastination Monster and to fulfill what is for some a life's dream: writing their first book. At best, you will come out of November's challenge with a renewed sense of what you can do when you put your mind to it. At worst, you will be a little further along in this journey called writing, and you will have participated in a rite of passage. (or is that a "write" of passage?)

Nano began in 1999, with only 21 participants. In 2008, there were 119,301 adult participants, 21,683 of whom reached the end-goal. 1.6 billion words were written.
Additionally, 600 classrooms participated in the Young Writers program. That's 22,ooo children who were writing right alongside their adult counterparts.

Nano sponsors in-person writing events! Find your region, click the link, and join the fun.