Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Category Archives: nanowrimo


November, many of you may be aware, is National Novel-Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Every year, someone asks if I’m going to participate in it. I think it’s a great idea, but I’ve never done it and likely never will.

One of the things stopping people from writing is a lack of urgency or pressure. Another is the daunting scope of the task once you actually sit down to try to write a novel. I mean, a whole novel. That ranges from 50,000 to upwards of 200,000 words–but let’s stick with 50,000, the NaNoWriMo goal. The average sentence runs eight to ten words. So we’re talking between five and six thousand sentences. Mike Davidson, the CEO of Newsvine, tried to address his e-mail overload by putting a five-sentence limit on his replies to e-mail. Let’s take that as an average, for lack of any better number. So a novel is like answering a thousand e-mails. And you want to do this in a month, on top of answering the thousand e-mails you already have to answer?

Well, NaNoWriMo gives you a deadline (November 30), and breaks the daunting task down into manageable stages (2,000 words a day–that’s not so bad, only 40 e-mails, right?). I know a number of people who’ve been successful at getting the novels done. There is a National Novel Editing Month as well (in March; National Novel Finishing Month is , which is less popular because editing, while just as critical as writing, is less well-defined. NaNoEdMo asks for fifty hours of editing in a month, which is a nice goal, but fifty hours of editing doesn’t have the tangible word-count goal that fifty thousand words does. (And then there’s National Novel Finishing Month, which doesn’t appear to have any goal other than to keep people writing on the novels they started for NaNoWriMo.)

At any rate: NaNoWriMo is a success because it helps people acquire the structure they need in order to finish a novel. I’m all for it. But I’ve already written a novel, and in fact just finished another one (the topic of another post). And really, I have enough projects on my plate that I don’t need to start another novel. Also, it seems like you could pick a better month, one that doesn’t include Thanksgiving (when I’m sure very little writing gets done).

However, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I’m declaring November my National Blogging Month (NaBloMo?). I am going to attempt to post to this blog every day in November (okay, so I missed November 1, but I did post on October 31 and since I thought that post was on the first, I’m counting it. It’s my NaBloMo, I’m making the rules.). It’s going to be challenging, since I have not only Thanksgiving but our annual convention in Chicago to attend, but I’m going to give it a whirl. Your support is appreciated! And it’s not too late to get in on the fun–join NaBloMo along with me! Let’s flood the internet with our babble!