November means NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. A time for aspiring authors around the world to gather and support each other in their attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.
Now, if you're not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it may seem like it opens the door to a bunch of hacks, giving hope to people that can't actually write, and the opening of the floodgates to a tidal wave of badly written, self-published junk.
On the contrary. Some New York Times Bestsellers have been born of NaNoWriMo.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.
Wool by Hugh Howey
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough.
There's likely hundreds of other novels out there that have seen some level of success that all started as NaNoWriMo projects. They may not necessarily have finished in a month. (The Night Circus was written over two separate NaNoWriMo challenges.), but they were all started during the challenge, and for many writers, both established and aspiring, getting started on a piece can be the hardest part.
Of course, there's more options than simply writing a novel. Writing comes in many forms, but they all start the same. Words to paper (or to screen as the case may be) on a daily basis. As I've said before, writers need to write.
The challenge for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words in 30 days. That boils down to just under 1,700 words per day. Now, even that can feel pretty daunting, but once you get started, it's an easy mark to reach if your idea stretches that far. (As of the end of this sentence, this blog post is currently at 284 words for example.)
So, depending on your preferred style, you could accept a variation of the challenge. A poem a day. A novella a week. A short story every 3 days. It really is up to you.
I'm not officially taking part this year. (Officially is signing up on NaNoWriMo.com and keeping track of your progress there.) I am taking advantage of the opportunity to get my ass in gear and get started on a few different ideas I've been batting around for a while. I don't really know how long any of them are going to be, which is one reason I'm not keeping an official NaNoWriMo tally. It's also easier on me to have a few stories I can bounce back and forth between, as opposed to slogging through a single long piece. Considering the difficulties I've had getting anything written for the past several months, any start is a good day.
So if you're taking part, congratulations and good luck. Feel free to refer to my post about Writer's Resources. Don't get discouraged if you don't make the word count every day, and don't even get discouraged if you don't finish in a month's time. The hardest part is getting started.
This blog post has a count of 500 words. Doesn't really seem like much, huh?