Tuesday, October 20, 2009



I came across this today and it piqued my interest.  I haven't made up my mind about it yet, but it's definitely a thought-provoking idea.  It's called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  It's an online challenge to write a 50,000 (yes, you read that correctly) word novel in one month--roughly 175 pages.  There's no pressure, no promise of publishing, no contests, only a challenge.

The challenge operates on the idea of quantity over quality, which reinforces something I tell my students all the time: that it's always easier to work with something on the page.  I think that often the hardest part is getting started.  It seems this challenge isn't widely celebrated, though.  I did a quick online search just now and it seems the idea is controversial.  It seems to me that anything that gets people writing is worthy.  Even if it's crappy writing.

What do you think? Should I do it?  Is it crazy to think I could write that much and still blog and grade and teach and run and be a mom?


  1. I've actually heard of this before. You wanna know what's weird? I mapped out the chapters and plot line for my novel yesterday between interviews. I just had this overwhelming sense of urgency and focus. I'm not sure if a speed-writing contest can help further that along, but like you said crappy writing is better than no writing.

    Wait. On second thought. I disagree with that. Good writing always. Always. There's no excuse for crappy writing. Unless of course you don't care if anyone will read it. :)

  2. I agree... I mean, I wouldn't aim for crap but I could tell you that if I wrote that much in that short of a time frame it wouldn't be stellar. Maybe I need to stop worrying about arbitrary deadlines and just write something that doesn't suck. I think it was the motivation I was searching for. (And apparently, a preposition I was ending my sentence with. LOL)

  3. I think you should definitely go for it! Think of it as a first draft. I think that you could get published no problem and could totally see myself and tons of others picking up your book at the local borders. It's a start in a direction that you already want to accomplish right? In the words of nike "Just do it"!

  4. I think you should do it!! You would totally kick my ass btw... I'm hoping I can make into the 10,000's before I totally blank out!

    If you sign up you will see that there are local meet- up groups and writing nights to help you out. One woman in my region has actually published two books from this experience. I'm assuming she's actually a very good writer to begin with, unlike me!

    If you sign up find me for a Writing Buddy! BakerGirl is my name on there too!

  5. I'm thinking of giving it a shot. I've never written fiction before, so it might be a good departure from my work writing (which is pretty darn boring). But then again, I've never written fiction before, so it might just be a big fat frustrating mess. :)