NaNoWriMo: You Are Going To Write A Book Next Month!

Posted by Blair Thornburgh

Take heed! If you didn’t know, November is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is simple: write 50,000 words of fiction in a month (that’s 1,667 words a day, number-crunchers). All that it takes to participate is the decision that you’re going to do it. Okay? Great. Now re-read the title of this post.

Look at that post title. Just LOOK AT IT. It’s such thrilling news that I had to use an exclamation point where the Chicago Manual of Style would probably rather I didn’t!

But that’s the thing: in NaNoWriMo, you are not going for style. You aren’t even really going for substance. You’re just going. You’re going to point your flashlight at the darkness, suss out the shapes in front of you, and plunge ahead. You’re going to load up your schooner, set a course for terra incognita, and circumnavigate the hell out of your own personal globe. You’re going to cry (I mean, probably. I always do). You’re going to be a writer because you’re going to be writing.

Now, some people look down on NaNoWriMo because quote-unquote real writers do not need to fill in goofy charts or crank out words like they are so many widgets and count them like they are so many beans. Some people are also jerks. The big secret about NaNoWriMo is that it’s just a fancy way to give yourself permission—or a kick in the butt—to do what Real Writers do every day, and that is string words together.

In other words, if you’re waiting for a sign to get started, this is it.

Someone once told me that publishers hate NaNoWriMo. Well, I’m here to say that 1. that guy is also a jerk and 2. no, we don’t. We at Quirk love anything that makes more writers, because more writers means more books, and more books can’t not be a good thing. So all this month, we’re going to bring you special NaNoWriMo-themed posts, giveaways, advice, and commiseration throughout November. We’ll talk writing, revision, and how to take your first steps into the world of Being A Writer.

Speaking of which: tell us stuff! What are you excited for or trepidatious about? What's your word-churnout-strategy? How can we make these posts interesting enough to entice you into procrastination? Leave thoughts, questions, and suggestions in the comments, and we'll pick three random commenters next week to win a copy of Secret Lives of Great Authors

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Blair Thornburgh

Blair Thornburgh

BLAIR THORNBURGH is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she earned a B.A. in medieval studies and delivered a pretty good commencement speech. She lives in Philadelphia.