Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
It’s November, and you know what that means, right? Oh, there’s certainly parades and turkeys, and “black Friday,” football, pumpkin pies, mustaches and so on. What you may not have equated with the 11th month of the year is the writing of novels. Burgeoning and professional writers everywhere are celebrating NaNoWriMo by setting goals, eschewing human contact, putting down the controller, and writing like mad.
During this National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) hundreds of thousands of writers make the commitment to write maniacally by the seat of their pants. There’s no planning, no outlining your story. You just write and write. The goal is simple enough. You write a 50,000 word novel from November 1st to 11:59pm local time on November 30th. Easy peasy!
This is an incredibly important month in that the world needs stories–particularly written stories. We <i>need</i> them. There’s something about a novel that cannot simply be replaced by movies, television shows or games as can be seen by the myriad movie and/or game adaptions of books that fail miserably. The novel allows our imaginations to flourish like nothing else. Nothing against movies, television, and so on, but there’s a very real sense in which we become unengaged in these forms of storytelling. We are spectators rather than participants. I remember Stephen King saying once that in the written story there is a meeting of the minds between the author and the reader. A writer writes the story and the reader imagines what the writer describes, and uses his or her imagination to give form to the characters, places, and events in the story. Both participate in the creative act.
National Novel Writing Month, as a nonprofit organization, believes that anybody can write a novel, and that’s what this month is all about. Whatever your profession, educational level, or age, you are encouraged to jump in and write. The only qualifications are the willingness to write and the determination to meet your word total goal. Don’t worry about whether you think it’s “good” or not. That’s not the point. The point is to finish your novel. But you’re not going to do it alone. There’s a host of published writers who offer pep talks to participants. There are also regional meet-ups and marathon writing sessions.
Last year there were over 341,000 participants in National Novel Writing Month and over 82,000 participants in the Young Writers Program. If you need even more encouragement, there have been over 250 novels that were the product of NaNoWriMo that have published through traditional means. In other words, they were not self-published, though with the ease of self-publishing you can still get your work out for people to read. But they’ll never read it if you don’t write it. And you’ll never write it if you don’t start.
I know it’s already the 7th of November, but you’re not too far behind yet. Head over to NaNoWriMo.org and get signed up. Track your word count progress. Add writing buddies. Head out to local events. But most importantly, write a story. My username is Pralix1138 if you want to look me up on there.
Now, get writing!