Don’t let Big Christmas (TM) tell you different: November is the most wonderful time of year for us writers.
National Novel Writing Month, of course.
National Novel Writing Month — or NaNoWriMo (or for those of us with really lazy fingers, simply NaNo) — is a challenge: write 50,000 words in 30 days. Is it insane? Maddening? Pull-out-your-hair frustrating? Absolutely. But it’s also a blast, a great way to establish the habit of writing daily — and if you’re really fortunate, NaNo will let you lay the foundation for a future published work.
Don’t believe me? Well, Bounty was my 2014 NaNo project. In 2015, I used NaNo to write Behind the Badge. In 2016, Notna was my 50,000-words-in-30-days bright idea.
Last year, I used NaNo to write Betrayed.
This year? I’m going to use NaNo to… write Betrayed. Again.
Betrayed has not been kind to me.
Not that you have to write something worth publication for NaNoWriMo. All you have to do is write. For you math majors, 50,000 words in 30 days amounts to about 1,667 words a day. Doable, so long as you avoid such things as writer’s block and real life.
But let me dispel a myth: we do not crank out our 50K and then hit “Publish” on Dec. 1. That’s not what NaNo is, that’s not what NaNo is about — and anyone who does do that has no idea what being a published author truly entails. NaNo is less about the finished product and more about doing away with the excuses and the road blocks and write.
In fact, most of us who reach the 50,000-word mark — who “win” — still have story to tell.
Even if you don’t reach the 50,000-word goal, simply getting in the habit of putting words on the page, of letting yourself tell your story, is intensely gratifying. Even if November only yields 20,000 words, just think: that’s 20,000 more words than you had at the beginning of the month.
Which, ultimately, is the whole point.
You can learn more about NaNoWriMo here. If you’re taking part this year, and you’re on the lookout for writing buddies, feel free to add me. I’m on there under my pen name.
About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.