#NaNoWriMo begins 11/1, are . . you . . ready?
Rita Herron shares her experiences with NaNoWriMo:
I spent years trying to write a romance. I read them, I loved them, I understood what went into them—I should have been able to whip one out, I thought. I had a master’s degree in writing, after all, and by the time I tried seriously to write romance, I’d been attempting to finish a book (any book) for almost ten years. I would start, stop, start again, eventually fizzling out when the initial excitement died down.
In 2006, I heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an online challenge in which you attempt to write 50,000 words (the equivalent of a short novel) in the month of November. No way, I thought. Who would attempt such a stunt?
I couldn’t stop thinking about it, though. That October 31st, while munching bite-sized candy bars, I decided to try NaNoWriMo. If I netted any words at all it would be a boon, since I’d been avoiding writing for months by that point. I only knew two things: I wanted to write romance, and I wanted to write about knitting. I pitted a sheep rancher against a knitter (they both needed wool, but not to keep warm—they generated enough heat of their own), and I wrote, for the very first time, regularly.
The act of putting words on a page daily is the magic of NaNoWriMo. From that, I learned commitment. It changed my life.
On November 30th, I cried while typing The End for the very first time. I popped open a can (yes, a can—don’t judge) of pink champagne and drank it on the back porch. That book—after a lot of revision—secured my dream agent who then sold it at auction in a three-book deal to HarperCollins. Since it was released in 2008 (HOW TO KNIT A LOVE SONG), I’ve written and sold seven more books.
I’m not the only romance writer who loves NaNoWriMo. In my Romance Writers of America chapter (San Francisco Area), we maintain a separate email list for the NaNo writers, and every year the number of people trying it grows. At NaNoWriMo’s annual fundraiser, the Night of Writing Dangerously (a glorious evening fueled by writing sprints and caffeinated marshmallows), our chapter takes at least two tables. And every November, I harness again the incredible energy that comes from half a million [GF – is this correct now?] people around the globe, all attempting to write 1667 words a day while still having lives and relationships and turkey dinners.
For me, it was the breakthrough I needed—attaining The End that first time made me realize I could do it. Every day, I hear from readers who love to visit that small town named Cypress Hollow I invented on a crisp November morning, and come Thanksgiving, I’m truly thankful.
Are you part of NaNoWriMo.? Even if you’re not, what would your book be about?
For more details on the organization visitNaNoWriMo.