Around the world, National Novel Writing Month begins on November 1. NaNoWriMo, as it is called for short, is 10 years old, and this is my second year in joining the madness.
The goal is to write 50,000 words of the first draft of a novel. Chris Baty, who is founder of the event, cautions writers not to have a goal of writing beautiful prose. The idea is simply to give yourself free rein to get words on the page--1667 words a day to be exact IF you want to make the 50,000 word mark by November 30.
It's a blast! It's insanity! It's an awesome commitment that feels wonderful in part because of the Internet which maintains a connection between the 125,000 writers who take part in this challenge. The NaNoWriMo web site has forums, radio programs, interviews, and pep talks. Each writer has his/her own page where counters tabulate the number of words accumulated each day.
Last year I "won" NaNoWriMo which means I wrote the 50,000 words. I wrote the worst mystery novel ever, but I learned a lot about the genre and about myself as a writer. Two local friends joined me in the event, Arlyn, who had been in my writing group for years, and Annie, who had never written a word in a creative genre before. We started meeting once a week at Starbucks to clack away together on our laptops for a couple of hours. Such events are called Write-Ins by participants. That's where Charlene found us. A 3-year WriMo veteran, she introduced herself and soon joined our weekly contingency. On the last day of the month, we had a party to celebrate our awesome accomplishment with ice cream cake and balloons.
This year, we had a kick off Write-In at Starbucks. Charlene had bumped into 2 more writers, Sherie and Phil, who were eagerly awaiting the November event, so we were 6 strong on Saturday (7 if you count Miles who is Charlene's consultant and readily provides answers to obscure questions that any of us ask while in the throes of creativity). Annie didn't join this year, but Shelley, another writing group friend, took her place. Here we are in the 2nd hour of Saturday's Write-in. We all made the requisite 1667 words and most of us surpassed that number on the first day out. Stay tuned for updates.