Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nanowrimo, where did you come from?

Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is the brainchild of Chris Baty. Thanks to him, hundreds of thousands of writers all over the world throw themselves into the abyss of plot, setting, and character for the month of November. Thanksgiving is hardly a thought in the flurry of typing an average of 1666 2/3 words per day in order to finish the entire 50,000 by midnight of the 30th.

If you haven't done this before, you should. It's a wild ride.

The first Nanowrimo didn't take place in November, but in July of 1999. It was a group of 21 friends who got together and churned out inspired fiction (or other stuff) for the fun of it. There were no rules of any kind. Six of them finished. They all celebrated.

Over the years, word of Nanowrimo spread like wildfire. Authors committed to being part of it faster than the volunteers could keep up with it's stunning growth. By the second year they had become international, much to Chris Baty's surprise. By 2001, year three, there were over 5000 participants, and the web site they had set up couldn't cover the volume.

Each year has brought new challenges to the volunteer staff. They have had to ask for donations (Nanowrimo is not for profit) to cover the costs of the materials and system that supports the writing for the year. Still, only a tiny number of participants actually donate to cover costs. To really bring home how it's evolved, you just have to look at the numbers. Last year, the twelfth year of Nanowrimo, 200,500 writers from all over the world were part of it. Of that number, over 37,000 finished their novels by the 30th. Over the years, a few have even revised their works and found publishing houses for them. Wow.

This year I challenge you to take up the torch and carry it through to the end of Nanowrimo. In the words of Walt Disney, "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." It may be look impossible on this side, but it really isn't (except in your own mind). With a support team of over 200,000 other writers worldwide, some of whom are in your own neighborhood, you have a better chance of fulfilling your dream to write a novel during Nanowrimo than you would on your own. Now is the time to write your story.

To help prepare, I suggest that you register on the Nanowrimo site to receive pep-talks from the Nano people over the next couple of months. Also, you can follow our blog as we give you a blow-by-blow account of our own Nanowrimo preparation. (I'm thinking about doing a day by day post of my own Nanowrimo progress during the month of November.) It isn't going to be easy, I admit, but you can do this.

Please leave a comment and tell me if the idea of writing a novel in a month intrigues you. Are you considering doing it?

No comments:

Post a Comment