Friday, November 7, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

We're well into November and if you haven't already started, get out your pens or keyboards and start writing. In their own words: "Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30....Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly."
They have a youth category too. The youth category does not have the word limit. So, tell your kids about it. They might actually find it fun and helpful. My 10 year old son (who is 11 now) tried it. He wasn't sure about it at first. Then, he approached the paper as if it were infected with some horrible disease. Cautiously, he touched it, didn't die, then wrote a sentence. Realizing that nothing remotely fatal was going to follow, he wrote another, awkward sentence. Then another, and another, until, much to his chagrin, the process began to elicit his hidden creativity. He could no longer hide his pursuance for plots, interesting characters and the ultimate provocative finale. He completed his contribution. In the process, he discovered something about himself that he had not know before. He was capable of writing for fun. He had the ability to apply pen to paper and create a tale from from the resources of his own mind. That, he had previously assumed, was something "authors" did. It wasn't something he was capable of. Since the average person couldn't perform surgery, the same held true for writing...or did it? Even the surgeon had to start somewhere. He had to have the interest in order to go to school and study his trade. Without that, nothing else would matter. And so it was, another inner writer was unleashed, if only for a few weeks. Isn't that what its all about?
My daughter, who is in her 20s with her own son, is very creative, but too busy at this stage in her life to stop and write anything for any period of time.
Since there are no expectations other than word count and time constraints, the pressure is minimal. And, who knows, you might find that next great novel hidden within the recesses of your normally confined imagination. At the very least, you'll be writing and contributing to the greater good. Maybe, just maybe, you'll find your inner Faulkner, Alcott, Bradbury or even Shakespeare.

2 comments:

James said...

OMG. I forgot all about Nano! I'm starting ASAP.

Betty said...

I'm going to tell my daughter about it. I think she'll have fun.