Today is Halloween. A quirky holiday with history. Children parading the streets in their costumes, siblings and parents chatting as they trail behind them. "Trick or treat," is the chorus ringing through front porches. Candy exchanges hands. Mischievous, but joyful. Known around the world.
But tomorrow marks the beginning of a time equally as renowned to writers: NaNoWriMo. In other words, November is National Novel Writing Month. Participants, anywhere from beginner to seasoned writers, are tasked with the goal of writing 50,000 words in a months time, due on the final day at 11:59PM. For November, this means roughly 1,666.666 words a day for 30 days straight.
For a frame of reference, Stephen King disclosed in his novel "On Writing" that he writes 2,000 words a day. Every day. As there are four weeks in the average month, this equates to 60,000 words total. He is a professional writer. This is not to say that NaNoWriMo's goals are impossible. Rather, it is to shed light on the accomplishment that achieving this standard is, especially when most of the participants are in school, are employed, or have families.
This is the 18th year of NaNoWriMo. Started in 1999, NaNoWriMo has come a long way. Now, there are seven steps to the process:
There is more than a process, though. Participants can track their progress, access pep talks and support from previous winners and published authors as well as online resources (such as word count helpers), and meet fellow writers online and in person through the different forums that each region offers.
My first post was about communities, and NaNoWriMo embodies that on a global scale. The annual competition (more with yourself, and Life, rather than others) fosters an encouragement and attitude not dissimilar to Thomas the Trains' "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!"
And on that note: I know you can.
Please, share your thoughts with us below! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What project are you working on? Is this your first year? If not, do you have any advice for others? And if there is any writerly topic or subject you would like to see discussed, please don't be shy!