What are you writing? (NaNoWriMo)

Each year, hundreds of thousands of regular people pledge to write a novel. In a month. And that month is November, which is also known as NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

In the words of the organisers:

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

It's a pretty simple premise. Just write 1,667 words per day, each day, for a month. At the end of the month, you'll have a novel, or something approximately like one.

NaNoWriMo is also a (totally optional) fundraiser for the purpose of promoting writing around the world.

The Upside

  • Stay the course, and you'll end the month with a novel. One that you wrote yourself!
  • You'll practice perseverance and self-discipline and get the rewards of achieving something many people say they'd like to do but few do.
  • Free pep-talks and advice from pro authors, including Malinda Lo, Lev Grossman and James Patterson.
  • Free stuff for 'winners'. 2 free printed copies of your manuscript, discount software and services, free ebooks and more.
  • You'll never read a novel the same way again.

The Downside

  • Some of the forum participants narrow-minded and overbearing.
  • A certain amount of scorn and derision for NaNoWriMos propagates out of the blogosphere/twittersphere every year. Some of it comes from professional writers and editors. Much of it comes from the amateur writer/bloggers and people who sell writing-advice. These people are dicks.
  • You might end up with a 50,000 word high steaming pile of poop. Or you might not even get that finished.

2013 will be my fourth NaNoWriMo. The first two went fairly well for me, resulting in manuscripts quite a bit larger than the 50k word goal. Last year I stumbled and ran out of steam before I hit 20k.

My writing is still pretty bad. My plots are pulpy and cliched. But I find the forced productivity very satisfying, and it's nice to look back at stuff I wrote years ago and find that it's not all as awful as I thought it was.

So, is anybody else on board? What's your story this year? Plotter or pantser?

More info here: http://nanowrimo.org