Every November I participate in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Around our house it is also referred to as “National Pot Pie Month,” an homage to my culinary efforts during November.
For the last five years I have been a Municipal Liaison for the Olympia, Washington Region. Last year indie author Lee French agreed to be a co-ML with me, which really took the pressure off in regard to small ML duties. We had 165 active novelists at that time and are gaining new wrimos all the time.
The primary goal of participating in NaNoWriMo is to produce a 50,000 word novel in the space of 30 days. That sounds crazy but it can be done–I do it every year. The first draft of Huw the Bard was written from start to finish during November of 2011 as my nano-novel that year.
HOWEVER: I spent the month of October 2011 outlining the novel. After the first draft was completed, I spent the next three years getting HTB ready for publication, rewriting it through 3 more drafts, having it edited professionally, and finally it was published in March of 2014. Mountains of the Moon was written in 2012, and published 2015.
Many people use the concept of NaNoWriMo to jump-start their noveling career, but there are just as many who spend the month of November writing family histories or memoirs, writing daily blog posts, writing essays, or even working on their dissertations. I know two people who write screenplays during November.
The month of November is when we celebrate the act of creative writing, and encourage every person with an inner author to let that creative energy flow.
Last year, I am worked on a series of mixed genre short-short stories, all of them written during National Novel Writing Month. Altogether I wrote 42 short stories, one of which, View from the Bottom of a Lake, was selected as a finalist in the annual PNWA literary contest. It didn’t win, but hey – I got the honorable mention. That was pretty amazing!
So I am doing it again.
My intention is to write one tale a day, or two or three longer tales a week, many of them set in a Medieval village, but some set in the fantastic future. Robots, Spaceships, Dragons, Fairies, even Mad Scientists and Crazed Wizards–all will be fair game.
This year there will be no novel in the traditional sense, but hopefully a LOT of short stories will emerge from my fevered mind, things I can use for contests and submissions to magazines and anthologies. For me, writing the first draft of anything is only the beginning. Once that struggle is out of the way, the real work begins–making it fit for others to read. Getting it through the editing process with Carlie Cullen and Dave Cantrell are tough but necessary steps. I don’t rush the revisions. I have nothing to lose by taking the time to do it right. Right now, I have three books on the back burner in various stages of dismemberment, but I am setting them aside for NaNoWrMo and in December I will return to getting them through that process.