So I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about National Novel Writing Month lately. Several of my fellow livejournalers have taken on this challenge, which is not an easy one: to write a 175 page novel in one month’s time. My favorite part of it is this, quoted from the offical website:
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
I also liked how in the article I read in the paper today the founder of this project said something to the effect that people are so daunted by starting a novel, and having it be perfect, that they often never start at all. As someone with experience in this area, let me tell you: there are no perfect starts. Or middles. Or endings, for that matter. I’ve written about fourteen full novels, only five of which will most likely ever be published. Some had initial promise, but fell apart. Some I loved but my agent hated. And some just sucked from the beginning. But I learned something from each and every one. That’s the only way you DO learn how to write: by doing it. Everything counts.
I heard a statistic on NPR that something like 81% of Americans believe they could write a book. Someone pointed out that since the statistics also show that many Americans read less than one book a year, a lot of these people wouldn’t even read their own book. Food for thought, anyway. As for me, I’m always glad when more people are writing. It gives me something in common with that much more of the world, and reminds me that I’m not the only one at any given moment who is sitting in front of the computer, sighing loudly and feeling somewhat discouraged.
See? I love that.
have a good weekend….