“Oh, you’re a writer? I’ve always wanted to write a book. I have this idea…”
How many times have you heard something like this? If you tell people you’re a writer (and hopefully you do), then you’ve heard it plenty.
This is the point at which I must fight my urge to brag. In my head, it usually goes something like this: “Oh, you want to write a book. Well, I’ve written four and a bunch of short stories and had one published and I’m an MFA student and I’ve spent years reading and writing and editing and learning and blogging and refining my craft to be awesome and it’s taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears, time, and money to do it, but oh, yeah, sure, go write your little book with no previous experience at all. SURE WHATEVER.
That’s usually about the time I remember that I, too, was once utterly experience-less. I spent years dreaming up books I didn’t write. I spent years not writing at all. Then, one glorious day, it all broke loose, and three months later, my first novel was complete. And it sucked. Royally. And I totally pushed it on people like it was the greatest thing ever. Read my book! Hey! I WROTE A BOOK!
To all those people: I am sorry. Deeply.
I can’t even go back and read the thing now without wanting to puke and this is many, many, many edits later.
So, the thing is. You gotta start somewhere. You’ll never be a writer if you don’t actually write. Yes, that seems obvious. No, it’s not to some people. Really.
The idea of actually writing a book is, for most people, quite intimidating. Where do you start? How do you get help? How do you know if your language, plot, characters, dialogue, etc. are any good? And maybe most importantly, what’s going to be the thing that actually gets you to start and stick with it to the end?
I have a solution. Enter NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month. It’s 30 days in which you write 50,000 words. That’s 1,667 words per day.
But! It’s not ONLY that!
It’s a reason. It’s a goal. It’s a timeline. It’s a community.
I have never done NaNoWriMo before, but I’m doing it this year. I’m not too scared of the word count. I tend to write fast and write a lot when I start a project and it’s burning around my mind. Since I had the idea already percolating when I realized it was almost NaNo month, it was a no-brainer for me. The hardest part was making my red-hot idea sit and wait without cooling off.
I decided to join because it seemed fun and I like a challenge. I signed up. I joined some regions, and I posted in a few threads. I added #NaNoWriMo and #WriMoBurgh to a new Hootsuite Twitter stream and starting joining in the tweet chats.
Then I told a co-worker about it. And she decided to join me! Then I noticed everyone, everywhere, in the writing community seems to be talking about NaNoWriMo. It’s huge. It’s popular.
That’s when I started to feel the NaNo love. This event is so much more than thousands of people writing a whole bunch. There are so many forums, you’ll get overwhelmed. There are mentors for newbies. There are write-ins, there are groups, there are tips, tricks, and outlines. There is so much information and support around writing and how to write and get started that you have no reason not to!
There are even peptalks from big-name authors. Including! My personal new favorite, Rainbow Rowell (Eleanor & Park). Her latest book, Fangirl, was even a NaNoWriMo novel! See! You can even publish these things :)
After November, there’s editing and publishing support, too! It’s like one big, happy, novel-writing lovefest. And you should be a part of it.
If you’re a writer or if you’re not. If you have 4,734 ideas for a book or you have none. Jump in, join the community, and feel the love.
I’ll be posting updates and other helpful tidbits along the way. Most of all, I’ll be writing!
Find me in these regions:
- USA :: Pennsylvania :: Pittsburgh (home region)
- USA :: Pennsylvania :: Elsewhere
- USA :: New York :: Elsewhere (just because my awesome friend, Rion, is the ML there)