>Stop! NaNo Time!

>Ladies and Gentlemen, please be warned that life as we know it is about to come to a screaming halt in an hour and a half when the clock ticks over to midnight and the calender turns over to November. So please hold on to your hats and keep a close eye on any items you don’t want to lose.

Because November as well as being one of the darkest and nastiest months in the year is also the home of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month).

This is what the website has to say about it:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and — when the thing is done — the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2005, we had over 59,000 participants. Nearly 10,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

This will be the third time I’ve done NaNoWriMo (NaNo for short) and I love it. In 2004 I wrote and won with an extremely crappy piece of Harry Potter fanfiction. Last year I was sadly one of the 49,000 who tried but failed. I gave up after about 10 days and roughly 7K words. This year I am planning to write a piece of original fiction – chick lit I think – and I am going to win. I’m pretty damn excited about it too.

There’s an hour and a half of sensible life remaining. Then you’d better strap in tight because come midnight – let the madness begin!

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