So Halloween is over and it’s more than three weeks until Thanksgiving. But there’s plenty going on. Today (11/1) is National Authors’ Day. It was established in 1949 by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The purpose to remind you to read a good book and appreciate a good writer. It can be a classic you haven’t read in years or a book you have always meant to read. Now’s the time! Last year I re-read a childhood favorite of mine and a true timeless classic, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle. It was even better than I remembered. This year I’m reading an Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot) classic, Murder on the Orient Express. Hollywood is releasing this movie on November 11. It will be interesting to see how it compares to the book.
November is also the best time for wannabe writers because November is National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo. It was established in 1999 as a way to encourage those interested in pursuing a writing career.
So what exactly is it? NaNoWriMo is a creative writing project that is Internet-based. The idea is to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days (11/1-11/30). The goal is quantity not quality. That is one reason I’m not a big fan of NaNoWriMo. A novel isn’t worth much if it is crap (excuse my French). Yes, you can edit and rewrite when you’re done but you cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, as the old saying goes. The publishing industry is extremely competitive these days for many reasons, so a novel needs to be really, really good if it stands a chance of success. I think it also puts a huge amount of stress on inexperienced writers to crank out 1,500 – 2,000 words a day.
That said, I think the concept is good. Dedicating a month to writing is a good thing. It makes you stop talking and start writing. I totally agree with that philosophy. In fact, I wrote a series of books about how to stop talking and start writing, publishing, and selling your book. What I think you should take from NaNoWritMo is to make a commitment to write that book you’ve been thinking about and talking about for so long. Also, be sure to write every day. Every single day, got it? You need continuity and commitment. I know all about how hard it is to find time to write. I wrote my first book while working two jobs and helping with a family business. I also wrote my next three books under the same situation, so no excuses!
Another thing I think is good about NaNoWriMo is that if you sign up you join a community of writers. Their site has tips, pep talks, a support system, and a daily writing log to keep you on track. Also, they have other helpful programs, including Young Writers Program (K-12), Camp NaNoWriMo (virtual writing retreat), and Come Write In Program. To sign up to join this month’s NaNoWriMo challenge or for more information, visit www.nanowrimo.org. There are lots of great writing podcasts out there, including one hosted by me and Author Sara Whitford, A Writer’s Journey and The Creative Penn. There are also many good websites, such as Helping Writers Become Authors and good books on the subject, including my series, Stop Talking & Start Writing.
FYI: More historic November events include…
*On November 1, 1914, the bra was patented.
*On November 9, 1927, Giant Pandas were discoverd in China.
*On November 10, 1969, Sesame Street premiered on PBS.
On November 18, Disney’s Mickey Mouse was introduced on Steamboat Willie.
On November 26, 1716, the first lion was exhibited in America.