Nov 2, 2013

National Novel Writing Month, or How I Learned to Stop Editing and Love the Pressure

Some people like to run in races, from the short and sweet 5K to the more arduous 10k. There are even people who can knock out the 21K Half-Marathons or their twice as grueling sibling the 42K Full-Marathon. I'm not here to teach you about long-distance running, although I'm sure I'd find a way to make it fun, but rather to talk about that truly terrifying goal that rears it's head every November.


Luckily for me, my joints, and my cardiovascular system, that number isn't a representation of physical distance. Instead it's shorthand for 50,000. As in 50,000 words. As in the 50,000 words that make up the novel you could be writing this month. 

NaNoWriMo is always a fun time of the year. Crazy, tiresome, a little reckless even, but certainly a fun time and an unforgettable experience. It provides you the goal, the deadline, and the community necessary to get your butt in gear and crank out a novel. This can be rather scary for people, especially someone like myself who is married to the backspace key, and might be having an affair with the delete key (that's just a rumor though). 50,000 words, one month, how can you do it? Luckily there plenty of people out there who have plenty of tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo, some of the most common being 

1. Just dive in.
2. Worry about all that editing later.
3. Kiss your social life goodbye for the next 30 nights.

As long as you follow rule #1, the rest is golden. Treat this like I treated every track and field day in elementary school and go for gold because you'll at least get a consolation medal. Worst-case scenario the month ends and you're left with more words than you started with, words you can continue to work with and around for as long as you want. Edit them, delete them, ignore them, at the end of the day it's all in your hands, or as I guess is more apt in this era, at your fingertips.

And now for some fun NaNoWriMo stats:

  • In 2012 there were 341,375 participants
  • 3,288,976,325 words were written.
  • Minneapolis was the 10th most active U.S. city, and the 16th overall
  • I managed to crank out 31,284 words, nearly double my product from 2011
  • You could be writing right now
  • So go do that

Enjoy NaNoWriMo Everyone!

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