Some of our readers probably have this tattooed on their inner wrist; for those of you not so dedicated to this craze, the initials stand for National Novel Writing Month. You can check out their website at http://nanowrimo.org.
The basic idea is to encourage people to write that novel that is in them—or at least 50,000 words of it—during the month of November. The objective results in an average of 1,667 new words written each day. It costs nothing to join the party. “Winners” get to brag, receive discounts on writer-related stuff, and have 50,000+ first-draft-quality words.
It started in San Francisco in 1999 when a bunch of guys decided that being novelists might enhance their chances at getting dates. I kid you not. It’s morphed into something much larger. But today I will focus on one individual’s reason for joining up this year (and I assure you it has nothing to do with enhancing my dating opportunities.)
Question: Why in 2015, when I have many things on my plate, have I committed to writing 50,000 words in November and opening myself to embarrassment if I don’t reach the goal?
Answer: Because other things are distracting me from writing new words.
In January 2015 I taught an online course (Self-Editing) for the Kiss of Death Chapter of Romance Writers of America. It went extremely well. I received lots of positive feedback, and I liked it a lot. But it didn’t help me write anything new.
Then I entered the Kindle Scout program with my novel Ant Farm and spent thirty days promoting the heck out of the nomination process. I was successful and received a contract from Kindle Press, but that isn’t writing new words either.
I attended Donald Maass’ weeklong workshop on “Writing the Breakout Novel II” because I wanted to make my novels even stronger than they were. I have been applying what I learned to my next Seamus McCree novel, Doubtful Relations. I rewrote that entire book based on the workshop, sent it to beta readers, and am rewriting based on their feedback. But that isn’t writing new words either.
In July I was elected president of the largest chapter of Sisters in Crime, the Guppy Chapter with over 600 members. I’m proud to say the Steering Committee has done some great things in the four months of my presidency, but it takes lots of time to coordinate that work. And (say it with me now, you know the refrain) that isn’t writing new words either.
This year I’ve taken some great trips; I’m teaching some bridge lessons in October and November; I have given presentations at various writing groups; I’ve attended several mystery conferences; and I am redoing the Self-Editing course in January 2016, this time for the Lowcountry Sisters in Crime Chapter (check it out here if you are interested). But, (all together now) that isn’t writing new words either.
So I am committing to writing 50,000 new words in November. And I will. You can be my buddy if you’re into NaNoWriMo (I’m JMJackson054). Once November is over, I’ll fess up on how I’ve done, but I am confident that by the end of the month I will have at least 50,000 words of Empty Promises (the fifth Seamus McCree novel) on the virtual paper.
How about you? Anything planned for November other than Thanksgiving? (And yes, I know our Canadian readers already celebrated Thanksgiving this month, but somehow choosing Remembrance Day, or Veterans Day just doesn’t have the same festive feeling, eh?)