As you can tell from the decorations in all the stores, November is National Novel-Writing Month. Or “NaNoWiMo,” as it’s known. Yes, it sounds like the name of an expensive and trendy section of Manhattan that was used for the disposal of circus and zoo carcasses as recently as last August, but whatever.
The purpose of this event is to inspire people to write an entire 50,000-word novel from start to finish in 30 days.
Every year I consider joining in. I’ve done this sort of thing before and it’s actually kind of a blast. For 24-Hour Comics Day, I attempted to write and record a 24-Hour audiobook. I failed, but chiefly because I got too into what I was writing. Ultimately, I wrote a 14,000-word short story that took way too long to write and record. It wound up being a 36-hour audiobook, if I recall correctly.
But it was a fine exercise. The point of NaNoWiMo and its ilk is to just put your head down and plow through, not caring if the end-result is publishable or not. That’s actually the key to writing. A work of fiction won’t be good enough to show anybody until its third or fourth draft, minimum. So sweating the details of your first run at it isn’t as important as simply getting from start to finish.
I’m not going to do a 30-day novel. I’ve concluded that I really ought to be finishing the book that I’ve already sold to my publisher. The Leopard book. You know, the one that originally was supposed to be 100% finished back in January.
It’s a shaky excuse, I know, but I’m going with that.
It’s probably for the best. I’m not really sure that a 30-day novel is actually an attainable goal. “If only there was a ‘National Terrible Unfinished Novel Writing Month’,” I thought. “I could do that standing on my head.”
Thank God for the Internet. The only difference between a terrible idea that you should really just keep to yourself and a beloved annual tradition is typing up a few paragraphs and then clicking a button marked “Publish.”
Push the button, Frank…