For the month of November, Lauren Hooker will participate in a writing challenge like none other. Every Monday, you have the chance to read about every moment of this quest.
November is National Write a Novel Month, 30 days of unadulterated misery, joy, carpal-tunnel inducing, coffee-guzzling, writing fun. In other words, participants are required to write a 50,000 word novel, approximately 175 pages, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30: about 1,667 words a day.
Last year, 256,618 people tried to accomplish the literary marathon, and only 36,843 novelists emerged, forever bearing the title, and a year’s worth of bragging rights, of a NaNoWriMo winner. I was not one of them. In fact, I’ve lost for the past three consecutive years, barely managing to pass the 20,000 word hump. Last year, between classes and work, a cornucopia of coffee and Red Bull couldn’t save me from the impending loss. This year will be different. In the words of Barney Stinson: “challenge accepted”.
Novels range in genres from children to adult, science fiction to mystery. A novel is defined as a “lengthy work of fiction”, according to the NaNoWriMo.org website. If you consider it a novel, so do they. It doesn’t have to be polished and ready to publish; editing it for December, after all. There are a handful of rules, including starting from scratch, being the sole author of a novel, and not writing “more than one word repeated 50,000 times”.
Featuring pep talks from authors such as Nick Hornby, Scott Westerfield and Kate DiCamillo, support is readily available throughout the NaNoWriMo website. Forums include boards such as “NaNoWrMo Ate My Soul” for suffering writers, or “This Is Going Better Than I Thought” for those experiencing unexpected success. Support exists throughout the community, as well.
Who even has time for this? According to most WriMos, the secret is to just do it. It won’t be easy, and it may not always be fun. But it will be worth it. If anything, the end-of-the-month “Thank God It’s Over” parties will be a blast.