As National Novel Writing Month comes to a close tomorrow, I was thinking about what it means and why people participate. After all, it’s a crazy challenge: write an entire novel in one month. 30 days to write somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000 words? That’s at least 1,666 words per day, if you are writing a short book. (Figuring out daily word count is probably the only time most writers use their calculator.)
But if anything NaNoWriMo seems to be growing in popularity. Why?
It’s because writing is hard and solitary. NaNoWriMo is a community so you can engage with like minded people. Not only can you create an online profile and keep track of your writing, but you can also meet up with fellow writers. For once the group with laptops at a coffee shop might be actual writers. I also adore the fact that NaNoWriMo does not discriminate. Literary novels and genres novels are both welcomed and accepted. Many published authors also use the event to spur them forward.
The deadline is incredibly helpful; no matter what you try you can’t make December 1 not come on time.
But I think most important aspect is the aspirational goal: write an entire novel.
Aspirational goals drive us forward. To do something most people would consider impossible. Think of the Wright brothers. Or Edison. Or Steve Jobs. They dreamed big and accomplished big. That’s the heart of NaNoWriMo.
Your novel will not be perfect at the end of the month, but if you worked hard you will have something you did not have on October 31.
So to all of you who have been taking part, congratulations and well done. And you have about 33 hours to make your aspirational goal!
(A list of novels that have been published from NaNoWriMo.)