What is NaNoWriMo? Is it a new erectile dysfunction drug? A political party? A space alien? Actually, it’s a shorter way to say National Novel Writing Month — a crazy, fun event that runs through the month of November.
The free, internet-based writing challenge began in 1999, with fewer than two dozen participants. The idea is to write 50,000 works (aka a lousy first draft) between midnight November 1st and 11:59 on the 30th. For most of us, it’s a pretty good stretch.Is NaNoWriMo a new erectile dysfunction drug? Click To Tweet
I’ve been writing non-fiction for most of my life, only recently transitioning from corporate and copywriting assignments to books. Shortly after moving to a mountaintop in northern New Hampshire to be with the love of my life, he handed me a newspaper article about the thing. I’m not sure I’d have found it on my own. Always one to “try stuff,” taking advantage of our relative isolation made sense to me. I had no idea what I was getting into but, after winning the first year I was hooked. With the exception of the year we moved twice between October 1st and December 1st, I’ve done it every year since. (If you’re not familiar with NaNo, please don’t get too excited about the “winning” thing. It simply means that along with about a kazillion other people, I completed my 50,000 words!)
So why is NaNoWriMo a good idea for a non-fiction author? It might not be for everyone but for me, it works like this. It:
- helps me ignore the fact we’re setting the clocks back next week.
- loosens me up. It’s hard to “write tight” when you’re going for quantity.
- re-connects my family with the fact that I sometimes disappear into writing and editing.
- makes me more creative. Trust me, I’ve got to make up some stuff in a hurry if I’m going to hit my daily word count.
- gives me permission to fail… not on a quantity level but it is one time that I can try to care a little bit less about the quality of what’s coming off the tips of my fingers.
- creates a draft that I might — someday — develop. The Inner Critic Advantage: Making Peace With the Noise in Your Head may or may not have had some roots in NaNoWriMo and the endless discussions about that wicked Inner Editor!
If you’ve considered trying NaNoWriMo it’s not too late — today is Day 1. Head to their site, sign up, and get writing. And, once you’ve started, if you’re looking for writing buddies, let me know!