Tuesday, October 26, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

For most people, November 1st isn't a milestone, it isn't a date they look toward with both anticipation and dread. For them, it's just another day - a Monday this year, to be precise. But for anyone who has ever participated in National Novel Writing Month, the first day of November heralds the beginning of thirty days of stress, self-imposed deadlines, exhilaration, and, if you push yourself enough to reach 50,000 words, joy.

After participating in Nanowrimo for the past five years (year six starts in a few days!), I tend to forget that not everyone in the world - or at least my world - knows what Nanowrimo is. For the uninitiated, Nano is a challenge - write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. That boils down to 1,667 words a day. It's not a horrible task, it's not almost undoable, it's just a marathon when you think of doing it for 30 days straight.

Believe it or not, there are speedy typists out there who write 12,000 words, 25,000 words, and more in a single day.

Not me.

I chug along at about 2000 a day - a bit more some days, a bit less on others - many years I've finished the challenge just before Thanksgiving.

I've been doing a lot of research for this year's novel. I've been filling up a journal with hand written notes, printed maps, and scraps of information gleaned from the internet. It's over 50 pages right now. My house and office are overrun with books on Boston during the Civil War. I've actually (ACK!) gone online to research racial and ethnic slurs of the 1860s (that really made me feel skeevy).

This year along with participating in Nano, I'm also Municipal Liaison for the Watertown, NY area. So there are extra duties, but also an extra sense of community. For anyone interested, we're having a kick-off meeting at Arbys on Arsenal Street in Watertown on October 30th at 1 pm.

On top of all that, I'm trying to finish a romance novel I've been working on all summer. I'm close, but I'm not sure if I'll get it done by October 31st. Aaaaannnnndddd... I'm trying to learn the new duties I've been given at work.

So... if when November comes and you barely hear from me for days on end, just listen for the clacking of computer keys - that's where you'll find me.

(by the way, this post was just over 400 words - yeah, I'll be counting everything for the next month).


  1. And I'll be clacking right along with you, Amy, before I start my regular workday typing medical records! Doubt I'll be doing much else for 30 days but typing! Good luck and may the muse be with you! J~~

  2. J,
    Yep, we'll be lucky to get out of this without carpel tunnel! My work consists of lots of data entry - so it's computer, computer, computer.

    I'm looking forward to taking this journey with you!