If you find your writing suffering lately–perhaps due to the shifting weather and gray skies–Nanowrimo may be just what you need.
Founded nine years ago, the yearly “write a novel in a month” event will have more than 100,000 participants from across the globe trying to write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s over 1500 words a day, or just over four pages of typed text.
It sounds crazy and probably is, but Nanowrimo teaches important writing habits that no fiction writer can afford to ignore:
1. Discipline: Assuming full-time novelists write one or two books a year, that writer probably writes somewhere between 500-1000 words a day. Forcing yourself to write more is like the old story of the marathon runner training with weighted shoes. Once the handicap comes off, you’re even faster.
2. Ignoring the internal editor: With a quota of four pages a day, you can’t afford to be a perfectionist. Your writing will be full of typos, spelling errors, and idiotic dialogue. Here is a sample from a participant of previous years:
“I think I am going to go to lunch now.”
“Yes, I think this would be a good time.”
“A good time? Why do you think it is a good time?”
“Because I am hungry, and I am bored.”
But by allowing yourself to write crap you also allow yourself to write, which is more important.
3. Losing control: Many new authors try to control the plots of their stories and novels, resulting in deus ex machina situations, wooden characters, or unbelievable twists. Writing this fast forces you to give up control and simply write what comes–which can later be edited into something readable without losing the spontaneity and realism in your rough draft.
Nanowrimo novels often stink, but participating is a wonderful way to practice the writing habits you need every day of the year.
To learn more or to sign up, visit http://nanowrimo.org.