As I write this, some 73,000 people have already signed up for NaNoWriMo 2010, and that number may swell to 100,000 before the first week of November ends. Hundreds of bloggers blog about it: their plans, their hopes, their terrors, their plots. Write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days? No way! Yes, I can. What have I gotten myself into? Help!
Why would anyone want to do something so insane?
Why wouldn’t they? It’s big. It’s crazy-making. It’s exciting. NaNoWriMo is one of the biggest challenges you can set yourself, as a writer. It’s the one time of year, and the one place on earth where you can find total, unconditional support for that secret (or not so secret) desire to write a novel. You’re surrounded by people who understand, who share your doubts and encourage your hopes. Who’ll sign on as your buddy and check in to see how you’re doing or give you a swift kick to get you out of a blue funk and back to the keyboard.
Besides, everybody’s doing it. You don’t want to be left out, do you?
How do you survive NaNoWriMo?
Pizza, caffeine, and your favorite candy – preferably chocolate. Okay, there’s more to surviving National Novel Writing Month than that. Ramen. No, seriously. Just cancel the rest of your life from November 1 to November 30. Family, friends, school, job. They can’t possibly be more important than sitting at your computer for thirty days and developing a severe case of carpal tunnel syndrome. If you want to get serious about it, a plan will definitely help. An idea for a plot? That’s a good start. Characters. And the comforting thought that you only have to write 1,667 words a day. Hey, you probably talk more than that. How much more difficult can it be?
Rewards. Another 100 words, another M & M. When you cross the finish line, being able to say “Nyah, nyah, nyah. I told you I could do it.” Seeing your blue progress bar turn purple. Printing out your winner’s certificate. 24 hours of sleep.
What are the potential benefits of NaNoWriMo?
If nothing else, you’ll know you have sitzfleisch. Once you’ve written 50,000 words in thirty days, you never look at another writing project and say “that’s impossible.” The first draft of a novel that might actually be worth finishing. The start of a writing career.
Is it worth it? Ask the people who will be sitting at their computers, fingers hovering over the keyboards, as the clock moves toward one second past midnight on October 31. It’s better than running around in a silly Halloween costume and partying till you drop. And no hangover.