National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.Online resources and even in-person events aim to keep participants' motivation high during the month.
I've occasionally considered participating in NaNoWriMo, but never have, and realistically probably never will. There's the fact that November is an awfully busy month already; plus there's the fact that I've learned through experience that trying to fit my writing output into a tight timetable usually backfires on me.
However, I did recently embark upon a new writing project, and I happened to begin it on November 30, the very day that all earnest NaNoWriMo participants were setting their pens down and breathing a satisfied sigh of relief. The thing that I am writing is shaping up to be a longer work*, for an adult audience (i.e. not kidlit), and ideally, I'd like to have a first draft completed before winter is over** But I've learned over the years that everything I do takes me two or three times more time than I think it will. So eleven months is probably a better estimate for my completion timeframe.
Which puts me at (calculators, ladies and gentlemen....) exactly November 1 for a "please put your pencils down" date for this project. That's Nov. 30 - Nov. 1, which is, conveniently, NaNoWriMo's calendar opposite. I think of it as an alternative NaNoWriMo, and I dub it...
NaNoWriMo for slackers!
(which is just as easy to say as the original).
[Or I suppose it could be NaNoWriElMo (ElMo = Eleven Months). Or AlNaNoWriMo (Alternative NaNoWriMo). Perhaps we need a dedicated NaAcCreMo (National Acronym Creation Month) to get us started.]
But whatever you want to call it, I'm giving it a try.
I won't be posting my word count, tracking my progress, or providing any updates at all, given that none of those things would be in keeping with the keyword "slacker." But I did want to mention what I was doing in case any of you would like to join me in NaNoWriMoFoSla. As with my Lazy Person's Reading Group (session one; session two; session three - oh, yeah, it only met once...), though you're welcome to chime in in the comments section if you'd like, all you really have to do to join is nod at your screen.
And then, all you really have to do is write, slowly but steadily, until November.
So uncap those pens. And Go!
*I hesitate to come right out and call it a novel manuscript, because the word "novel" implicitly sets forth the idea that I will someday be sending it around and seeking publication, whereas even the mere distant future prospect of submission -- and all the ego-crushing rejection and frustration involved -- is enough to shut down my creativity immediately. So no, it's not a novel manuscript. It's just my work-in-progress.
**My motivating technique of turning the furnace off and not turning it back on until I've met my word quota is weather dependent.