Today, I'm sharing a different kind of project. It's still technically a craft, but I don't have photos for you or a tutorial. It's about creative writing, something I've done for years, but never really been dedicated to (outside of what I do around here). This month, that has changed. And I wanted to talk about it. So I am.
This year, I'm participating in my first NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a shortened way of saying National Novel Writing Month. It's when hundreds of thousands of writers (over 310,000 participants in 2013) get together to pledge a goal of writing 50,000 words towards their individual novels during the month of November. The whole thing is hosted over at NaNoWriMo.org, where you can register (for free) for your own dashboard to track your progress. You can also network with other participants, including writers in your own area.
There are motivational speeches from celebrity authors, there are mini-activities to get the juices flowing, and there are write-in events. These write-ins are both local and virtual, a means to get together with other writers and just write. There are a lot of motivational tools. NaNoWriMo is also active on Twitter, with the hashtag #NaNoWriMo trending several times this month already. On Twitter, there are mini-sprints where you try and write as many words as possible within a given amount of time.
The biggest goal of NaNoWriMo is to get your words down on paper (or in electronic format) rather than having them swirl around in your head. The goal is to write, not to edit. It doesn't have to be pretty and perfect, you don't have to worry about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. You just have to get the ideas out and let the story come to be.
There are writers of all genres, all ages, all nationalities. It's amazing. I'm having a great time already, just because of my own progress and hearing about the progress of others. I haven't done much in the way of socialization, but I have felt like part of a community and I have been inspired to keep going on my own work.
And just how is my own work going? Well...I started a couple of days late and to be honest, sometimes I just let myself walk away without meeting my daily goal if I'm not feeling it, but I'm making more progress than I really thought I would. The novel I am working on has gained over 13,000 words so far. It's addicting to watch my little dashboard progress bars grow and so easy to push myself to get 100 words more, 200 words more, just to see my goal indicator turn from orange to green for the day.
I honestly don't know if I'll make the 50,000 word mark, but I do know that I'll be happy with wherever I end up as long as I feel like I've made a good effort. To me, a good effort is making progress every day. And so far, I've done that. It's amazing to feel that I have this ability in me. The novel may never go anywhere big and huge, but it's there...my words...written and at some point ready to share. It's one of those little things that I'm quite proud of.
And it's not too late! You can sign up for NaNoWriMo at any time. You can head to the site now and get rolling. If you have the itch to write, don't be scared or timid. You can do it!
And by the way...this can definitely be a "by the seat of your pants" thing. I had a loose plan for my plot when I started, but major planned events/characters have already changed twice. Not only that, I honestly can't tell you write now how my novel will end. I had a plan for it when I started, but now it seems that I have more than one option for my conclusion. My novel has taken on a life of its own! The fun part right now is just waiting to see what manages to falls into place. Of course, it could end up being something totally different than anything I expect right now. Who knows?
Are you a writer? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? How is your progress going? What do you like best about it?