Last year, thanks to the magazine Wired (which I love), I discovered two things. I read an article and discovered Twitter. And I read another article and discover NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month.
And believe it or not, they’re related. I finally looked up the NaNo website on November 3 and made the plunge–three days late. Because you have to understand what NaNoWriMo is. It’s sheer insanity. Several thousand, maybe hundred thousand–people pledging to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and 30. By the end of the month, your manuscript has to be downloaded to a word counter on the official website. It’s free, and if you win, you are rewarded by an official sticker that says you’re a winner. Yeah, I know, whoop, but the big deal is just proving to yourself that you can do it.
You and your fans, of course. Which is where Twitter comes in. I got on Twitter and linked up with about a dozen other people who were doing NaNo, and the personal challenge became a month-long party. You post on Twitter that you met the daily NaNo challenge, and your buddies cheer you on. On the other hand, you can post that you have hit a snag, and your buddies commiserate or make suggestions to help you overcome it. Great fun.
I surprised myself by finishing my 50,000 words in 14 days. But that’s just me. Anyone who knows me know I am obsessive. But what I learned about myself is that I can write a LOT faster than I thought I could write, and that I CAN write during the school year, properly motivated.
The other thing I learned about NaNo was Rule #1: go for quantity, not quality. Don’t edit your stuff. Don’t check your facts. Just write–like the wind. Like alligators were chasing you. Like your eternal soul depended on it. And have fun while you’re doing it.
This year, it looks like I have three possible students willing to join in the insanity with me. They’re member of the Rough Writers, the school’s fledgling creative writing group. Don’t worry: I will make sure they don’t neglect their classes. Teacher first, writer second.
But with three weeks left until the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, I can’t help but be excited.
Care to join us?