If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, the concept is simple: If you write just 1,666 words per day, every day then by the end of November you will have written 50,000 words–the length of a short novel.
Notice that I said the concept is simple, the acutality is a bit harder. After all, if you are going to write a novel in just a month you’ll have to forgo some things (laundry, dishes, catching up on Netflix, etc.) and focus singularly on your writing.
Can it be done? Sure! Last year more than 40,000 people wrote at least 50,000 words. (More than 430,000 people worldwide participated in NaNoWriMo overall last year.)
Can you participate in NaNoWriMo without it being your ONLY focus for November? Yes. After all, we still have to deal with Election Day, Thanksgiving (just don’t offer to host this year’s festivities if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, it won’t turn out well, trust me!), not to mention Veteran’s Day, Black Friday and just, you know, your day-to-day life.
So when do you write? During your bus or train commute, while waiting in the pickup line for school dismissal, While waiting at the doctor/DMV or other appointment, before breakfast (yes, you will be getting up early/staying up later to get your word count in), on the train or plane for Thanksgiving with the family, before sitting down to said Thanksgiving meal, after you’ve spent way too much money on Black Friday. You write instead of going for your usual manicure. You write instead of leaving your desk at lunch hour. You write instead of going to the movies or out with friends on Saturday night.
In essence, you write anytime you can grab a few minutes during the day. (And if you have a flexible schedule that will allow you to write for an hour or two at a time, well, you are really lucky!)
NaNoWriMo does take a commitment, but as a writer you have to make the commitment and show up and do the work. Plus, it’s a great challenge and a wonderful way to flex your writing muscles.
COMING TOMORROW, Part 2: Things to consider if you want to try NaNoWriMo.