One Novel in One Month

Have you heard of this?  I stumbled across National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) after a friend mentioned it in conversation.  Writing a book in one month?  I had to check it out.  And I did.  And I’m still flabbergasted by the idea. 

NaNoWriMo is a program, a challenge to write 50,000 words (that’s about a 175 page book) in the month of November.  Crazy?  You bet.  But it works.  It works if you put the effort in, it works if you’re passionate, and it works if you’re the ambitious type bordering on insane – which describes most writers.  The great thing about the NaNoWriMo challenge is that by forcing yourself to write so intensely, the inner perfectionist fades away.  You finally allow yourself to make mistakes and take greater risks.  And after November 30th, you can go ahead and edit ’til your heart’s content.

I signed up with trembling fingers.  Will I manage to write 50,000 words in a month’s time?  Am I even capable of such intensity?  I don’t know.  But I do know that my November 2011 is spoken for.  The NaNoWriMo staff encourage accountability.  By telling everyone you know of your one-book-a-month challenge, you’ll finish.  If only for the sake of your pride.  Here’s my public declaration. 

With November a long way off, I plan on embarking on a similar journey this summer, a challenge inspired by Rebecca Serle‘s “7 Things I’ve Learned So Far.”  With her debut book Rosaline appearing in May 2012, she had this to say:

You don’t write a book.  You write a sentence and then a paragraph and then a page and then a chapter.  Looking at writing 400 plus pages or seventy thousand odd words is incredibly daunting, but if you just focus on the immediate picture – say, 500 words – it’s not so overwhelming.  And the remarkable thing is that 500 words every day will yield a manuscript of 70,000 words in less than five months.

I have big plans for the summer.  As of June 1st, I will be writing 500+ words a day.  And that’s just starting small – I expect to write a great deal more.  After all, you need to stay out of the sun from 10-2pm. 

Who’s with me?  Are you up for the intensive November writing challenge, or the flexible summer plan?