November: a good month in which to write 50,000 words

NaNoWriMo.”  Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?  In fact, for a few days after I read it, I was saying “nano-rhino,” conjuring up images of a tiny version of the horned African beast.  I also thought it sounded like a Native American greeting, such as “Klahowya.”

I first learned of NaNoWriMo on a writing blog I subscribe to.  The blogger has been giving advice all month on how to prepare for it.   I deleted the first half-dozen posts on this topic because I had no idea what it referred to. Finally I saw a reference to it, but continued deleting the blog posts because I had no intention of participating, that is, until two classmates in my writing program urged me to reconsider.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  Celebrated in November, it shares the calendar with “sleep comfort, Native American heritage, peanut butter lovers, model railroads, aviation history, international drums and child safety protection.”  An organization called The Office of Letters and Light, described on its website as “a tiny but mighty nonprofit,” sponsors the big NaNoWriMo event:  “thirty days and nights of literary abandon.”

Here’s how it works:

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30.
  • Start from scratch. 
  • Be the sole author of your novel. 
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site between November 25 and November 30.

The argument that convinced me to engage not only in “literary abandon,” but also to abandon my sanity, free time, social life, and friends for 30 days was that I would start December with a first-draft of a novel.  No matter how awful that first draft turned out, the reasoning went, I would have taken a big leap forward toward having a creditable product by the end of the school year.  I’ve registered for the challenge, and now I’m trying to cram as much social life in as I can between now and a week from next Tuesday.

Note to friends who live nearby: November could also be National Take a Meal to a Friend’s  Spouse Month, or Stop By and Remind a Friend to Take a Shower Month.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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4 Responses to November: a good month in which to write 50,000 words

  1. Sharon says:

    Can you “cheat” and start early? How many pages is 50,000 words or how many hours? Of course, the only remaining question I can think of is WHY do this?

  2. Evelyn says:

    This decision says a lot about your optimism and if you complete the project it will says volumes about your resolve. Either way, your sense of humor will definitely need to come into play–and your husband’s too. I look forward to learning the results. Best wishes!

  3. Jackie Smith says:

    Remember these numbers: 9-1-1. Better yet ,have Greg commit them to memory.

  4. Marilyn says:

    That is a challenging goal! But you are one motivated person and you’ll be well on your way in a week. Wishing you good luck and a mindful walk now and then.
    If you can tackle this, I can write one haiku a day, heck, maybe two!

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