Writing Into Submission

It’s Thursday, which means I should be telling you about a great place to submit your work. And I am, sort of.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo is a writing project whereby thousands of writers come together every November to challenge themselves. The basic rules are simple – you write a novel of 50,000 words, during the month of November. If you succeed, you “win” and if you fail, you hopefully had fun, learnt something, and written more than you would otherwise have done.

Around those basic rules, there is a huge container ship of optional extras for the enthusiastic WriMo. You can meet others through chatrooms, webforums, real-life meetups; you can change the challenge to suit yourself for example with a different world count or an alternative writing format … the possibilities are endless. Last year I wrote 7 short stories instead of one novel; my friend Victoria is this year re-writing  a previous novel, although she’s doing it the hard way – she’s writing it all over from scratch, using only notes and a plan from last year, and then hoping to combine the best bits of both drafts!

Equally endless is the range of writers involved. Some people take it immensely seriously, write a novel, edit it in the months afterwards and go on to either self-publish or join the traditional publishing model. Others never look at their novel again after 1st December. Some people plot and plan carefully throughout October, some are “pants-ers” and feel the story as they go, others use the dare forums to guide their novel, or follow the theory that says whenever you get stuck, you simply add ninjas.

NaNoWriMo is a lot of fun and a great way to kickstart your writing. 50,000 really isn’t as much as it sounds, but even if you set yourself a lower goal or miss your target, it’s a good thing to try. And you can get as involved as you wish – my first year I just had a few online friends doing nano and mostly flew solo, last year I was heavily involved in the Toronto nano scene. To be honest, I enjoyed it both ways.

If you’ve got any questions, or are wondering whether to give it a go, let me know. If you’re going for it, comment below and I’ll be poking you (supportively) for progress reports whenever I can. And if you’re interested in various ways to get a head start by planning your novel, be sure to stop by next week for a daily series on different ways to plan ahead for any writing project, including a crazy timed one.

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