It’s November, so NANOWRIMO is here. A small group of writers came up with the idea of National Novel Writing Month back in 1999 as a way to motivate themselves to blast out some first drafts. Since then the even has morphed into a worldwide phenomenon of a contest with over 120,000 participants. What do you have to do to “win”? Write a novel of a minimum of 50,000 words during the month of November. The prize? Developing the habit of writing every single day, conquering your inner critic, blasting your writer’s block to bits and producing a first draft of a book. That draft may be a horrible mess, but as the NANOWRIMO website states:
“Make no mistake, you will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create.”
Last year, 21,683 people completed novels for NANOWRIMO. Who will read them? Who knows. One of my favourite novels (The Night Circus) was conceived for NANOWRIMO, so even though lots of writing will get done this month that will never see the light of day, masterpieces could be in the works. And the only sure thing is that whether anyone sees it or not, if you don’t do the work, you’ll have no chance at all at succeeding.