There is a pretty good chance you have heard of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month, the notorious frenzy of word count and caffeine driving several creative writers up and past the breaking point. There are several interesting arguments in this event, garnering over 200,000 participants last year. But I digress. What is NaNoWriMo?
Writers of all varied experience come together and take the month of November to write a novel. Well, a draft anyway. 30 days for 50,000 words comes out to 1667 words a day. Could you do it?
Now I may be in a minority when it comes to the event, in that I am skeptical. I don’t see how anyone other than James Patterson could put out a usable draft in that amount of time. I know that after Day 10 and a blurred computer screen I would just end up with a manuscript straight out of The Shining, the same phrase repeated over and over and over. Editing in itself is a huge undertaking, but rather cathartic after the initial internal protest, and that isn’t made any easier by taking 50,000+ haphazard word clusters and trying to make something that is useful.
However, I will admit the benefits to NaNoWriMo. It gets you writing. There is a structure, a set word limit, a goal for each day. Each time you meet your wordcount is its own celebration. You know that I could use that kind of motivation. And then there is the community, online and IRL, people staying up together and the only sound being the frantic clacking of the laptop keys. There is something to be said for the solidarity. It is only you and your fellow writers tackling the challenge and overcoming it. Now that may be a bit Walt Disney, but from what I’ve seen, holds true in a lot of cases.
Can a novel be written in a month? Maybe. But I would have to have 20 pages of outline beforehand and that may be against the rules.