Okay, don’t panic… it hasn’t been quite a full week since NaNoWriMo kicked off. You’ve still got plenty of time. National Novel Writing Month–NaNo, to the veteran participants and tweet-watchers–kicked off this past Tuesday with all the fanfare that only the great collective writing event could produce. But what does it really take to participate?
Backing up, NaNoWriMo is a month-long event in which participants strive (and struggle) to write a 50,000 word novel within the thirty days that make up November. The end result is pride in a job well done, a certificate that the “winner” prints out to frame, and a t-shirt that the author must purchase himself.
So why do hundreds of thousands of people take part every year, from every corner of the globe?
“National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”
In other words, NaNo is a fine time to stretch the creative legs, get the writerly juices flowing. But be warned, it is not the time to produce a finished product. The goal of NaNo is to get 50,000 words on the page (or in the file) by November 30th, NOT to upload a brand-new novel to KDP on December 1st.
That’s not to say that there haven’t been some blockbuster bestselling novels, both traditionally and independently published, that started life as a NaNoWriMo whim. Authors would do well to participate in another month-long event, DecLetItSimmerMo, followed by several months of editing rounds, before trying to publish it.
In all seriousness, in an era in which literature is losing a foothold in pop culture, devoting a mere thirty days to written endeavors is a fantastic idea. Not only that, NaNoWriMo helps support an educational initiative based solely off of donor support, the Young Writers Program, which is worth every ounce of effort and amount of spare change that participants can give.
Fortunately, with only one week of NaNo behind us, it’s not too late to give it a try yourself. No one said it had to be “good,” it just has to be created, so join in and see where your book loving energy takes you.