November 5, 2009

It is a time to liberate oneself from one’s inner critic and inner copyeditor, and freely explore writing, instead of putting it off until you have “time.” It is also a social endeavor, a competitive venture with friends and strangers down the street and around the world, thanks to the nanowrimo website (conveniently at

Some people are better at this than others. There is always someone (or a whole slew of people, often, I think, college student writing fantasy fiction) who has finished his or her 50,000 words by the 5th day of the month (today), some who will go on to write, perhaps, half a million words during the course of a month. Others will barely get started before the month is over. Hard to say whether any of the novels or bits of novels produced are any good. Occasionally one will be published (there is a list of published nanowrimo novels on the web site), but I haven’t read any of them. I have read some snippets (you can post excerpts from your novel online), many of which show promise. Ultimately, though, it is about quantity, not quality. There is a national novel editing month to deal with the quality aspect.

Over 120,000 people participated last year, and there are probably even more than that this year. This is my third year. I won my first year, but producing 50,000 words by November 25, scrupulously writing 2,000 words a day. Then I put the novel aside and haven’t looked at it since. Last year, I barely got above the 5,000 word mark. This year, I am already way behind, and I still don’t really have a plot. For now, I am writing about a woman writing a nanowrimo novel, exploring novel topics. I’m sure it will lead somewhere.

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