Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

National Novel Writing Month

We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done. We got a long way to go, and a short time to get there … .

For those of you who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s a program that pushes writers to get something done. Participants spend the month of November writing, as much as possible, whenever possible. The goal is to come up with 50,000 words in 30 days.

The goal here is quantity, not quality. The incentive here isn’t to produce Pulitzer-Prize-winning stuff; it’s to get your ideas out of your head and onto paper (or into a computer file). Why? Because almost everybody has said at some point, “I could write a book about that.” But almost nobody ever gets around to writing that book. NaNo is, at the very least, an opportunity to get around to writing. No more excuses; from here on, you are going to crank out the words.

Lately, I’ve been reading Irving Stone’s 1938 biography, Jack London: Sailor on Horseback. One of the methods London used to keep his output going was to force himself to write at least 1000 words a day. When times were tight and he needed money desperately, he would go up to 1500 or even 2000 – definite NaNo territory. He did acknowledge that when he produced a greater quantity, the quality went down. But simply cranking the words out onto the paper was what counted. And that’s how NaNo is, too. We can deal with quality issues later. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “I can write a book,” but you’ve never found the motivation to get started on it, NaNo is your opportunity to give yourself a kick in the butt and get to it.

2 Comments:

Anonymous jesse said...

Whaterya 'ritin' this year? Another mystery?

Thu Oct 06, 07:27:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

This time, it's closer to home -- Murder at the Community College. I'm going to invent the most obnoxious colleague possible, with dozens of people who all want him dead, and then kill him off and spend at least 50,000 words figuring out whodunnit.

Fri Oct 07, 12:59:00 AM MDT  

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