National Novel Writing Month

The last post about “writing in the wedges” was originally a mild rant about NaNoWriMo, which I find, like “Talk Like a Pirate Day” and “Dress Like a Zombie and Get Drunk” day, loses some of its novelty every year. I didn’t really find my way through that rant and ended up doing something else. Now I am glad I didn’t, because I remember my uber-rule of “there really are no rules,” and while I am inclined to think that quality does so matter and that a mad dash through a book wouldn’t work for me (I must work practically every day, in spurts, 12 months a year), I can’t speak for anyone else. A friend of mine just published a book that began as a NaNo project. My wife loved it (I haven’t had a chance to read it yet), so I guess that’s all the evidence anyone needs to do what they’ll do. So Godspeed, NaNoers. I hope you finish your manuscripts in time and are happy with the results.

However, given that many NaNo aspirations end up with frustrated authors, I’ll recommend another strategy.  I’ll call it 500/5/25: Write (at least) 500 words a day, (at least) five days a week, for (at least) 25 weeks.  That will produce a novel slightly over 60,000 words, which is how long all of my books are. It lacks the punch and derring-do of NaNoWriMo, so I doubt it will ever be a big fad or have an Internet presence. Still, I bet that’s how 99% of the novels that get published are written.

2 thoughts on “National Novel Writing Month

  1. I used to cheer-lead my NaNo pals, but then came back to the realization that writers write, much like a painter always has a brush in their hand or a person who loves crosswords runs out to grab a Sunday paper every weekend. If you aren’t compelled to write during the other 11 months, then you probably aren’t a writer, and that’s okay.

    NaNo is a good way for people to test the water and find out, though, I’ll give it that. I wasn’t a writer until after my first NaNo (which I failed😛 miserably).

  2. I still like Somerset Maugham’s instruction: Apply the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.”
    W.S. Merwin once said if you doubt you’re a writer, try to give it up. If you can’t, you’re a writer. I’m glad you’re one.

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