National Novel Writing Month, shortened to the catchy NaNoWriMo (nan-no-RYE-moe), is an Internet-based creative writing project that challenges writers and would-be authors to pen 50,000 words in the month of November. Though it started in 1999 with fewer than two dozen participants, it’s estimated that more than 200,000 tackled the challenge in 2010. We’re hoping that 2012 will see record numbers — and we want Outskirts Press to be well-represented!
Outskirts Press is proud to be a sponsor of the 2012 NaNoWriMo and we’re encouraging our self-published authors to register for the challenge of a lifetime. Consider it the writer’s equivalent of the Boston Marathon, but without the blisters (you can still carb-load if you’d like). The difference is that instead of running your 26.2 miles in one slow, steady session, you’re probably going to be running it in a series of short sprints.
Who knows, you might want to churn out your 50k in one fell swoop, but in all likelihood, you’re probably going to want to write consistently every day from November 1 through November 30. Considering most authors require many months, even years, to plan and compose a quality book, don’t get caught up in creating a pristine tome in 30 days; the quest for perfection will only slow you down. Remember, no one expects a great American classic to spill out in a few short weeks, so don’t get caught up in any editing. Focus on just quantity for now — you can tackle the quality later.
Here’s why: In order to meet the NaNoWriMo goal of 50,000 in one scant month, you’ll need to average 1,667 words per day. For most writers that’s probably going to mean a daily commitment of about two hours. If you take weekends off to decompress, up the daily weekday quota to 2,381 words. If you’re saving all your work for the weekend, count on putting in full days and cranking out about 6,250 words per writing day. And if, like many writers, you procrastinate until the last week to write your novel (perhaps during a post-Thanksgiving vacation), you’re looking at 7,143 words per day for seven days. We don’t recommend it, but hey, some folks thrive on pressure!
We do, however, recommend joining a regional group so you can communicate with other participants, spitball ideas, share tips and gather wisdom from those who’ve successfully completed the challenge before. Many seasoned NaNoWriMo authors have valuable input that can help you plan and execute your project.
NaNoWriMo is a fantastic exercise for new authors to use as a kick-start to their writing efforts, or for experienced authors to loosen up and switch up to a more stream-of-consciousness style for a while — whatever gets the creative juices flowing. However, this month of crunch time can be more than a mere exercise. Many of the submissions to NaNoWriMo have gone on to get published! As a self-published author, the decision on whether to polish and publish your NaNoWriMo creation is solely in your hands.