The time has come again, and, this time, I’ve decided to join in. National Novel Writing Month has been in existence for eight years. It started with 21 participants in 1999 and grew to 59,000 in 2005.
What is NaNoWriMo? Between November 1st and November 30th, participants must write a 50,000 word novel. The challenge is there, but participants can also join forums, local groups (for instance, in Ottawa, there are over 200 participants), discussion groups. There are local write-ins, where a bunch of NaNoWriMo writers get together and write, play games, challenge each other. You can also have writing buddies who you can turn to for encouragement and challenges.
“Though the word â€œnationalâ€ exists in the contest name, Baty estimates about half the contestants come from outside the US, the bulk of those hailing from Canada, Australia and the UK. As for how it went from a pocketful of friends to its current size, the growth can be blamed on livejournal, which Baty says has its own NaNoWriMo contingency, and also the power of bloggers. â€œItâ€™s an annual challenge for people, like a marathonâ€”people come back every year to do this. There is definitely a repeat community,â€ he chuckles and adds, â€œPublicity is one thing we forget to do every year.â€ There are also volunteer municipal liaisons in over 200 citiesâ€”they hold events and write-ins at coffee shops and the ever-important thank-god-itâ€™s-over-party. In other words, you donâ€™t have to go your first draft alone and that is a highly appealing thing.” (Read the entire article)
The website has an official word counter and “winners” receive a dandy certificate. Last year, out of the 59,000 participants, 9,769 reached the 50,000 word goal.
There is no shame attached to not finishing, only encouragement to try it again next year. Many have been returning since the beginning. Several of those writers have had a novel published out of the exercise.
So, here I am, at the cusp, with an idea (another Jack Meter book) but no plot. If you’re interested in my writing progress, I’ve placed a word counter on the home page of my website. Simply scroll down to the blue logo. The count starts tonight, midnight.