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N is for National Novel Writing Month

September 18, 2012

Hard to believe, but in a few short weeks, it’ll be November. And that means the weather will break, the conference will be over, and it’ll be time to start thinking about the holidays.

It also means National Novel Writing Month. In case you haven’t heard, during November, there’s a program that allows you to sign up to write a novel (about 50,000 words) in thirty days. You just sit down and do it. If you’re new to writing a lot of words, the numbers might floor you. To hit your goal, you have to average 1667 words a day for 30 days. Using the traditional measure of 250 words per page, that’s about seven pages a day.

The trick to National Novel Writing Month is that you just sit down and write. There’s no revising, and there’s no illusions that the final product is salable. It’s a gateway exercise, designed to get you over the first hump of just doing it. And there are groups you can enroll in that will help you with questions and motivation. As of the writing of this blog post, there were 19 groups listed in Florida. Many of the groups have meetings and write-ins for you to meet with other writers and crank out the words (and probably drink coffee or other caffeine-based beverages).

If you make your goal, you get a snazzy graphic to put on your website. Last year, there were 36,843 winners–that is, people who made their word goal. That’s out of a quarter million participants.

As previously indicated, you aren’t going to have a finished product when you’re through with this. You’ll need to learn about editing and revisions. This is for first drafts.

And although the rules say just to sit down and write, you can start planning your work now, if you want. If you know who’s who and what’s what going in, the results coming out might be better.

And there’s no money involved. If you’re looking for a kickstart, this is a great, free, grassroots giant writing party to get you over the hump.

 

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