Is there a novel inside you just waiting to get out, as soon as you find the time . . . or get started . . . or create some accountability? NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—may be just what you’ve been waiting for. Hundreds of thousands of participants worldwide will put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) the first day of November. Their challenge: to complete a 50,000-word novel before midnight Nov. 30.
It’s a tall order but not impossible. Bestseller Water for Elephants was a NaNoWriMo novel. You may surprise yourself by what you can accomplish with determination and a deadline. Even if you don’t reach the target word count, the effort can stretch your limits. You may sharpen your focus. You may subdue the perfectionist sitting on your shoulder, the one that always wants you to go back and start over. You may experience the joy of flow.
At first I planned to post this on Halloween, just in time for the writing to begin. But if you decide to do it, mid-October is not too soon to start planning. Muse, plot, get to know your characters. Sign up to connect with fellow writers, resources, and tools. NaNoWriMo can help you through three of the biggest novel-writing barriers: to get started, to keep going, and to finish.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.