November is my favorite month of the year. It has it all: colorful leaves, usually a sprinkling of snow, the beginnings of seasonal cheer and décor, Thanksgiving, and (last, but definitely not least) my birthday.
As if November weren’t fantastic enough, the folks at The Office of Letters and Light had to go and pile on National Novel Writing Month. So, that makes November’s official tagline “How much awesome can you handle?”
This will be my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo. I’ve “won” all previous four years (hitting my personal goals of 60k in 2007 and 75k in 2008, I might add, in the interest of tooting my own horn), but I have yet to come out of the month with a baby novel. To recap:
- In 2005, I wrote about a slightly fictionalized version of my five weeks of hell working at Wal-Mart right after I graduated college.
- In 2006, I wrote a truly horrible (if complete) supernatural-mystery-thriller featuring the worst dialog and the biggest Mary Sue of all time.
- In 2007, I wrote what a story about a young man who chooses not to speak and realized about 20,000 words in that it was supposed to become a screenplay. I finished it, but no one will ever see that version. Instead, it served as a very broad and early conceptual version of MUTE.
- In 2008, I tackled a huge concept I really had no business tackling: a collision of the modern and fairytale worlds on a ridiculously epic scale. It remains unfinished.
Despite having no novel to show for my four wins, I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. It was NaNoWriMo that reawakened my desire to write for a living after school and life had dampened it a bit. It was NaNoWriMo that proved to me that I could write something novel-length, even if I had a long way to go as a prose writer. With a little (or, on some days, a lot of) effort each day, I could be a writer.
So, here’s my advice. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of writing a book, because it sounds like fun, or you think you have a story to tell, or you want to say you once did, or — God help you — you want to be a writer, then November is the perfect time to take the plunge. At no other time during the year will you have the same support you get from the NaNoWriMo site, its tools, and all the other crazies partaking in the rollercoaster adventure of writing a novel in a month with you.
Even if you think you won’t have time to write 50,000 words, I’d still encourage you to give it a shot. Even if you end up with 40,000 or 20,000 or 2,000 or 500 words, it’s likely more than you would have written otherwise, and that, my friends, is a victory. So, if you’re up for the challenge, head on over to the NaNoWriMo site and sign yourself up. If you like, feel free to add me as a buddy (you can do so easily by clicking on the participant icon on the right side of my blog). I’ve got a feeling that November 2009 is going up to be the best NaNoWriMo ever, so don’t miss out!