Writers can be insecure creatures. For many, the thought of beginning a novel, a project requiring the production of from 60,000 to 100,000 words, can be overwhelming. For the writer who tends to linger over every sentence, the prospect can be especially daunting.
This year’s NaNoWriMo has already begun, but it’s not too late for a writer who has been flirting with beginning a novel to register. Not everyone who participates in the online event completes the challenge, but taking part for just one or two weeks is an enlightening writing exercise.
If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, you may be the only writer who hasn’t. The acronym is for National Novel Writing Month. Don’t let the name fool you. The online event has become a worldwide phenomenon. The name will no doubt remain the same because it’s so much fun to say “naa-no-wry-mo.”
The value of this worldwide writing exercise is that it encourages writers to recognize the duality of the writing process.
Every writer wears two hats: the Creator’s hat and the Editor’s hat. (Nowadays most writers must don the Marketer’s hat as well, but that’s a subject for another post.)
NaNoWriMo forces the writer to leave the Editor’s hat in the closet for 30 days. It’s a great discipline. Not everyone who signs up stays the course, but the experience of doing this kind of focused writing for even a week can teach a writer a lot.
Go ahead. Jump in. Register for the 2013 NaNoWriMo and watch those words accumulate on your daily progress tracker. Even with a late start, you can expect to crank out 30,000 words or more by November 30. Your writing will be far from perfect, but you’ll have a draft, or at least the beginnings of one.
A draft to a novelist is what a lump of clay is to the sculptor. Every novel begins with an imperfect draft. Once the draft is in hand, the writing can begin.