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Summary:

November is almost here, and that means it’s also nearly time for NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the abbreviated term. It’s an event run by Office of Letters and Light, a not-for-profit organization that takes as its […]

nano_09_blk_support_120x90November is almost here, and that means it’s also nearly time for NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the abbreviated term. It’s an event run by Office of Letters and Light, a not-for-profit organization that takes as its primary focus encouraging young people to write through various education-based programs.

The goal is for participants to write an entire 50,000-word novel, from start to finish, within the space of a single month. Sound challenging? It should, unless you’re Stephen King, who seems able to match that kind of production without even meaning to. It’s free to enter, although donations are encouraged to help the organization pursue its charitable goals.

For the rest of us, that’s a tall order, hence the benefit of giving it a shot if you’re a writer working online, or even if you’re not and you just have some writerly tendencies. NaNoWriMo may seem like an immense distraction from work, and it is, but that’s part of what makes it such a unique and valuable opportunity for those for whom the written word is professionally relevant.

For one, it puts you under an extreme deadline, but one that’s distant enough from the project start point that you can actually create a workable, multi-parted plan in advance to tackle the task. Having a definite start and definite finish isn’t something that you’ll always have when you’re working for a client, but being able to work within those kinds of strict confines comes in very handy.

It also gets your creative juices flowing. If your job is to write about one thing day after day, it can be pretty easy to fall into a rut, and who could blame you? Participating in something fun like NaNoWriMo will not only help you escape from the monotony of the daily grind, but it should also have a positive effect on your writing as a whole, both personal and professional.

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo in the past? Do you think you’ll take part this year? Do you think creative writing is a valuable tool for professional writers?

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  1. At the urging of my son, I did it last year and it was great! He had done it the year before and we were working out story ideas for him when he said those fateful words “You have all the ideas, why don’t you do it”. He got done 2 days early the first year and 6 days early last year. I think I got done 2 days early, which was great because it was dragging on at the end. I expected that my writing productivity would increase over the month but, alas, no. This year we are trying to talk my wife into doing it as well. If so, it’ll be pretty damn quiet around the house in the evenings during November.

  2. My wife and I did our first NaNoWriMo last year and both won. We’re definitely going at it again this year. It’s fantastic and so much fun. If anyone wants a writing buddy, feel free to add me.

  3. I am looking forward to my first NaNoWriMo.

    It is a little intimidating for someone who spends most of their writing juice on non-fiction, business topics. However, I love reading novels and have often said, “I think I could do better than this.” And Stephen King says that’s all it takes. Okay, maybe for him–right?

    It will be interesting to see how it goes–follow/encourage me along.

  4. I tried this last year, but a hefty and unavoidable disruption prevented me from finishing. I’m back on track to try again this year. I’m writing creative non-fiction, though. I added you guys – feel free to do the same. Good luck!

  5. Charles McPhate Monday, October 19, 2009

    You know, I’ve had an idea for a novel for seven years now, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I could use the distraction and change of pace now, so I think I’ll participate.

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