Word Nerds: It's National Novel Writing Month



Writing for a living is something I've wanted to do since I was a child. Now that I've been an independent journalist for nine-ish years, I can promise you that it's not easy, but I can also promise that if it's your dream to be a writer, it's a dream worth following.

On that note, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) as a NaNoRebel because I'm not a fiction writer but I do have a non-fiction book proposal to get off of my desk and I'd like to push through a few more chapter drafts. I have my idea and outline and I've been working on the topic for more than six years as a journalist. I'm ready to go and punching the daily word count goal (1,667 words) in the face. Huzzah!

As I mentioned, I'm a professional writer, so I'm on it. But once upon a time I was a lot like a lot of the folks who approach me and say stuff like, "I've always wanted to be a writer." Or, "I have this book idea but no time."

It's time to get off your asses word nerds, your support system is here. NaNoWriMo can help you develop with writing practice. For me, that's really what this month is about; making time every day to work on a book project. It's about creating a new habit. That's it. I know that I'll have a mess to edit when I'm done, and that's okay. By the end of the month none of the NaNoWriMo participants are expected to have a completed book. It would be nuts to expect that! Good writing is a lot about good editing, after all, and you should be the first editor on your crap-draft ... you know, the one that should never, ever be seen by anyone but you.

Admittedly, you're a couple days behind if you haven't already gotten started with NaNoWriMo. But who gives a damn! The goal is 50,000 words in one month. You know what will happen if you don't make that goal? Nothing. Oh, well, you won't get an internet badge. So what? If you can get into the habit of making time to write a little every day, that's good and you can consider yourself a winner. Start with 200 or 500 words. Just write. Don't worry about getting things right, but do start putting your ideas on paper or the screen whether they be a novel, a screen play, a poem or your life's story. You can do this.

Once you sign up, buddy me up on the website; I'll happily offer encouragement. And I'm not the only one. There are "write-ins" happening in Charlotte and nearby towns and plenty of other folks who are willing to offer advice and support as you embrace yourself as a writer. Who knows? Maybe this will be the start of a wonderful writing career for you.

Some NaNoWriMo facts:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) organizers believe stories matter. The event began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

NaNoWriMo’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.

In 2014:
  • 325,142 participants, including 81,311 students and educators in the Young Writers Program, started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
  • 803 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 615 regions on six continents.
  • 849 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
  • 55,774 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

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