What color are your leaves?

Fall is in the air.  Candy is on sale after Halloween.  Temperatures are dropping.  Everyone is complaining about Daylight Savings Time.  Picture 015

It’s also National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo.  I recently read a rather derogatory blog about NaNo.  I am participating this year.  I don’t have a lot of word count yet, but I’m still working on it.  I’d like to address a couple of the things mentioned in this other blog.  I’m not naming names, that would be rude.  But I do think it bears discussion.

NaNoWriMo runs the entire month of November, all 30 days.  While some may think it’s impossible to write a complete novel in that time, you are writing 50,000 words.  A lot of novels are much longer.  Thanks to e-books many novels are shorter, also.  There are many authors who give pep talks during NaNo that talk about their own adventures writing a novel in 30 days.  Yes, it can be done and many do so.  Not all of it is publishable, but neither is everything you could write in 3 months.  The time limit is not a race.  It is supposed to help you prove a point to yourself.  Yes, you can make time to sit down and write every day for 30 days in a row.  Guess what?  It takes 30 days to create a habit.  *gasp*

Wow.  I’m making a habit of writing.  Imagine that.  A lot of people need that deadline of November 30th.  They write better under pressure.  Some people can crank 5-10 thousand words a day with no problem and breeze to the finish.  Some people do NaNo for the challenge itself, to jump-start their creativity for a project, for some camaraderie while following a solitary pursuit.  The reasons why we NaNo is as diverse as the thousands of people worldwide who participate each year.

Many people who NaNo do write everyday of the year.  There is nothing wrong with a little competition among friends when writing.  Especially if you have an in-person writing group to write with.  And don’t forget the kids.  NaNoWriMo has a Young Writer’s Program to encourage young people to write.  The son of a friend in my local group participated last year.  He got inspired after tagging along to a meeting.  Not only did he write, but he met his goal and had a great time flexing his creativity.

NaNoWriMo knows that we write more than just in November.  That’s why they have Bootcamps twice a year where we get to set our word count goals and still face that challenge with a little less pressure.  Sometimes it makes it easier to silence the inner editor and simply get words on the page.

I think what struck me most about this other blog was that it assumed it was a waste of “valuable time” and that NaNo people only write in November.  Any time spent writing is good time.  All word on the page are a success, especially for those who struggle to get those words.  That other blog was almost discouraging despite the author’s well wishes to those participating.  I’ve always believed that you should encourage other people to write or express themselves in whatever creative way they choose.  Never discourage someone from writing.  Be honest about your own experience with the written word, but always, always, always encourage people to write.  Sometimes that one person saying “Go ahead, you can do it” is the only encouragement they get.

Join the rush at NaNoWriMo.org

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