Since 1999, The Office of Letters and Light has run National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo) every November. NaNoWriMo has become hugely popular all across the internet, as aspiring authors commit to writing 50,000 words of a first draft of a novel in one month. Writers of all kinds, ages and experience take part in NaNoWriMo every year. Whether they succeed in reaching it to the goal of 50,000 words or not, many writers find it a great experience to be pushed toward a specific word count and be forced not to “self-edit” or get hung up on the details for a month. The community of NaNoWriMo participants, both on the official website and elsewhere around the internet, adds to the fun and encouragement for many.
But not everyone who writes aspires to be a novelist. As such, many other projects have unofficially spun off from National Novel Writing Month: for short story writers, for bloggers, and for those who simply want to write 50,000 words of anything in one month (a goal dubbed NahNoWriMo by writer/blogger Kellie M. Walsh in 2009.) NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month, is an alternative for bloggers where the goal is to update one’s blog every day for a month, no word count mandated. PiBoIdMo, or Picture Book Idea Month, was created for writers and artists of children’s books to spend a month gathering ideas for new picture books. There are similar projects for artists, poets and other creative types, not all held during November, although many are to piggyback onto the creative energy of the month.
With all of these projects in mind, I have decided to challenge myself in 2010 to ACWriMo: Associated Content Writing Month! I have set a goal of writing 50,000 words of Associated Content article drafts this November. The goal of ACWriMo is not to get all of those articles submitted and published on the site in that time period, but to simply start writing them. Get the drafts going. Publish my Featured Contributor assignments for the month, yes, but then try to get a jump start on articles for the rest of the year and beyond. Tackle those subjects and article ideas that have been in the back of my mind for months, yet I never get around to actually writing.
50,000 words of Associated Content articles seems like a lot, or maybe even an impossible goal. It becomes a little more manageable to break it down into smaller, daily goals. Each day, that’s a little under 1,700 words to write: three articles in the 500-600 word range, or one or two longer pieces. I know I’ve had days in the past where I’ve managed to not just draft but finish and submit 4-5 articles of that length when I put my mind (and looming deadlines) to it. As with NaNoWriMo, doing research in advance will be completely legitimate, so I’m spending the next week or so compiling a list of articles to potentially write, including links and notes to myself on references to use for them.
I’ve brought up the idea of ACWriMo on the Associated Content discussion forums and will be launching a thread for all interested in joining me in this challenge come November 1. For some, I realize that November is not a great month to try to get a lot of writing done. The holidays are looming and other work assignments can be heading in to end-of-the-year pressure. Some AC writers are already planning on doing NaNoWriMo as well. But if there is some good response this coming month to ACWriMo, perhaps we’ll try for another round of it during a different month in 2011.
No matter what your writing goals are for November, I wish you luck and success. If you’d like to join me in ACWriMo, please comment here, and don’t forget to check the General Discussions area of the AC Forums for support from other writers.
(Disclaimer: ACWriMo is not an official contest, project or name endorsed by Associated Content or Yahoo! in any form or fashion. I’m just doing this to encourage myself and other AC writers to get busy, and get writing!)
* National Novel Writing Month – Official website.
* National Novel Writing Month – Wikipedia.