Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? If you don’t, then you might be wondering why I seem to be communicating in a bizarre form of gibberish. If you do, then you immediately recognized ‘NaNoWriMo’ as shorthand for National Novel Writing Month. Writers register for free at www.nanowrimo.org and commit to spending November creating a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel.
I’ve participated before, so I know what to expect. It will be an intensive month of coffee fueled, do-it-or-die trying, marathon writing sessions. If I can achieve or surpass the 50,000 word goal, I earn the right to refer to myself as a ‘winner.’ Failing that, I can always console myself with a metaphorical pat on the back and a reminder to myself that ‘there’s always next year!’ There are no cash prizes and no promises of glory. Instead, NaNoWriMo offers the support of an online community where every member is straining forward to the same goal – the production of a complete rough draft of a novel in just 30 days.
I did Nanowrimo three times, and its less structured alternative, Camp Nanowrimo, once. I’ve won twice, and lost twice. The result: four separate and unfinished novel drafts. I seem to be great at starting, but not so skilled at finishing.
Well. That just won’t do, will it?
Nanowrimo begins again in less than a month. I want to sign up, but I’m worried. I don’t need to spend another month churning out disconnected plot points that lead to nowhere. I already possess four very different novels, half done and languishing in my laptop files. I am thinking of signing up as a “rebel” (a writer who participates by working on a project that is not a new novel manuscript). Perhaps I could create a book’s worth of humorous or inspirational essays, or a collection of short stories. Or maybe I could take one of my unfinished manuscripts and try to bring it to completion. I can’t seem to decide.
Comments or suggestions are always appreciated, but especially so today – help me find my way!