November is National Novel Writing Month. This is an international event that encourages people to stop saying, “I’m going to write a book someday,” and sit down and do it.
I was introduced to this phenomenon five or six years ago. The librarian at the middle school where I worked instituted an Open Mic activity to encourage students to share their writing. She begged faculty to join the event so students wouldn’t be too shy to stand up and read their words.
At one such event, a language arts teacher heard me read the opening for a story I had written. The next day he sent me a flyer and link to National Novel Writing Month. His message:
“I think you’ve got a novel in you.”
At the time, I didn’t think I could commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days. The next three years, I was attending college and working full-time. I was lucky I found time to sleep. Write a novel? Not happening.
Last year, I participated. I had finished the first book in my trilogy and was advised to write the entire story (three books) before returning to revise the first book. I attended an online writer’s conference in October to prepare myself mentally for the challenge.
A group of writers in my community meets monthly. They hosted a bunch of write-ins and other events to spark interest in NaNo. I was excited and nervous.
Bottom line: I won. For all the specifics, check out the post I wrote during my elation last year.
I’m not going to participate this year. You don’t have to write a novel, any sort of writing can count – poetry, non-fiction. I am hoping to turn out five short stories in November, but I haven’t signed up as a participant because it doesn’t feel right. It’s National Novel Writing Month. To participate, I should write a novel.
My reasons for not participating this year:
- I have two completed manuscripts that need rewriting, revising and editing.
- I want to branch out with short stories so I can get some publishing credits to beef up my author bio on the queries I’m sending out with my manuscript.
- A project called Doomsday Dragon needs to find its way to beta readers before the end of December, and it isn’t through the first edit yet.
- A project titled A Mother’s Pondering Heart needs to be rewritten and go through a first edit since it has been promised to beta readers in December.
- I need to finish some projects and begin to market them if I want to reach my goal of being published.
- I don’t really have a new idea ready to write into a novel. My mind has been focused on short stories and these revisions.
What do you think of National Novel Writing Month? Will you participate this year? Do you have better excuses for not participating than I have?