You may have been seeing an unwieldy acronym lately: NaNoWriMo. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which comes around every November. In USA Today writer Joyce Lamb explains what it is:
The NaNo plan is to write 1,667 words a day — or about 12,000 words on the weekends, if you’re as undisciplined as I am — so that after the 30 days of November, you have at least 50,000 words written that make up the beginning, middle and end of a story. Doesn’t have to be good — and how could it be if you write it in just a month?
The whole idea is that you just write, with no editing, no self-criticism, no worry about things like grammar and punctuation. What the writer ends up with is a very–read VERY–rough draft of a novel. It will need a lot of real editing in the months after November, but at least it provides material for the writer to work with.
There really is something to be said for this approach to writing. Often writers get so caught up in the details of what they’re writing that they stifle their own creativity and sense of exploration. The point of NaNoWriMo is to let the writing take over, to let the work go where it wants to go. I don’t write fiction, but I do know that when I’m able to let this writing process take over with my nonfiction, it can go to glorious places.
So check in with Lamb for more details about how to participate in NaNoWriMo. And, just in case you’re wondering if this whole thing really works, one of her NaNo novels (heavily edited, of course) will be published next month by Berkley.