Chances are the title is Greek to you, so let me begin with a little introduction.
The month of November, besides being known for fuzzy faces among the men, is also National Novel Writing Month, as founded and ran by the Office of Letters and Light, or OLL. The ultimate goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. On average, that’s 1,667 words a day. It’s not inconceivable, but it is a stretch for many people.
I started doing NaNo, as we call it for short, back in 2009. I’d quit roller derby and needed something else to do with my time, so I figured why not?
I wrote an awful book, but the important thing was that I began the journey of regular writing. I built a habit.
Experts say that it takes thirty to sixty days to build a habit, depending on which expert you ask. NaNo provides that optimum atmosphere to build the first month of habit. People who write successfully have the habit of writing daily, or working on writing so often it’s part of the daily lifestyle.
One of the downsides of NaNo is that after the hype is gone, so are the words. Another problem is that many participants don’t know the value of editing their works before sharing or sending them out.
With the first, November is the easy part. There are write-ins and a lot of encouragement. It’s what comes after that’s really hard. I think the connections you build during the month can be invaluable resources for continuing support. If you’re participating, try to get out there and go to something local so you can connect with other writers.
Now, as far as the value of editing, it’s priceless. There’s an ugly idea out there that NaNo is a horrible idea because it makes everyone think they can write a book. Well, they can, the problem is keeping up the momentum and putting the work into the book. Editing it. Polishing it. Agents and editors consider December to be their personal National Rejection Month because of all the unedited manuscripts that are sent in.
But for now, write. Put one word behind the other and keep going.