Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Dear Diary,

In the wide world of writing, Novemeber has been set aside as a month when authors attempt the marathon of writing: an entire novel in thirty days or less. Of course, the novel is to be short, only 50,000 words. And crappy. Yes, the whole point is to write a crappy novel in as little time as possible -- for by telling your brain that it is supposed to be crappy, you short-circuit the internal editor who stands over your shoulder whimpering, "That sentence wasn't good enough. Go back and change it." And the idea is that if you write a short, crappy novel, you will at least have the basic frame down, and can go back and work on it at your leisure.

At the least, this is supposed to be a very fun experience. I don't go for full participation in the event because, even with my internal editor turned off, I wear out after a thousand words a day. That and my habit of not waiting until one particular month to embark on white fire writing. Last year I hit a spell that might have qualified, but it struck in the middle of August.

I have found, however, that not everyone supports the idea of NaNoWriMo. Most, like me, simply feel that the frantic pace is not for them. Not in November, with the holidays breathing down our necks. But there are some interesting alternative to the marathon.

There is, for example, NaQuaWriMo -- or National Quality Writing Month. You turn out a 100 words of highly polished prose every day for a month. I cann imagine that might be of more use to me, as I can write crappy just fine, but writing well is a challenge. Or there is NaPoWriMo -- National Poetry Writing Month. Produce a poem a day. There was even at one point WriSoEvDay -- write something every day.

What has worked best me, however, is a simple challenge. You set the word goal for each day, preferable something that makes you stretch a bit without guaranteering frustration, then report every day whether or not you made the goal. The other people who have picked up the challenge with you also report in the same place. It's not frantic, it's not a heart-pounding. But it's a steady pace that can easily become habit-forming.

1 comment:

  1. Doing NaNoWriMo with your internal editor still on -- now, there's the challenge!