Indiana Daily Student

Writing a novel in 1 month? Challenge accepted

There’s more to November than not shaving and stuffing your face with turkey (although, those are two extremely important aspects).

November brings us cold weather, parades, premature Christmas music and National Novel Writing Month.

For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, NaNoWriMo is a time when folks gather their resources, meet up in cafes, drink a lot of coffee and try to write a 50,000-word novel in ?30 days.

You’re encouraged to start a new project (meaning nothing you’ve written before), and going back to edit what you’ve written is a big no-no (that’s what the month of December is for).

If it sounds crazy, that’s probably because it is.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2009, but I’ve never been able to finish.

Something usually comes up in my life around the middle of the month, and then I’m too distracted by Thanksgiving events in the end.

However, I refuse to quit because I think this process is essential for writers, readers and anyone who likes a challenge. Tomorrow night, after candy and Halloween flicks, I will face that midnight starting time head-on.

Authors have always been a mystery to me. I have great respect for those able to compile all their thoughts into a focused piece of writing and share it with others.

But another part of the mystique is how the author got from point A to point B.

How many ideas did they have to start? Did they use resources? Are the characters modeled off of real people they know? Is there a certain magical font they used that allowed them to write gibberish and turn it into a masterpiece?

The only definite similarity between all novelists is that they decided to write and they wrote, which is what NaNoWriMo is all about.

Everyone I’ve ever talked to about NaNoWriMo who’s never heard of it always asks, “But what do you win?”

The answer is a learning experience about writing and your own satisfaction of writing a novel.

I don’t know if there’s a statistic out there, but I’m pretty sure only a few NaNoWriMo novels ever make it to print.

But the point of writing like crazy for a month isn’t to sign a book deal afterward. Although that’s the ultimate dream come true for practically every participant.

Practice in writing makes you a better writer, period.

If you’re thinking about attempting NaNoWriMo, you don’t have to do it alone. A local Bloomington group meets up for write-ins at Rachael’s Café several days a week and can offer all the support you need during this hectic month.

Other participants are great to bounce around plot ideas with and swap stories about character ?backgrounds.

But if meeting in person isn’t your thing, forums on provide plenty of answers and help.

The site lists advice from time management to exercises for getting started.

If the idea of NaNoWriMo terrifies you but it also excites you, it’s time to join the gang and tackle the beast.

Take it from someone who’s only made it halfway: Failure is part of the learning process, and you’ll definitely fail if you don’t try.

So this month, take a chance to become your own inspiring writers, dear ?readers.

Maybe someday, we’ll be reading your books.

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