NaNoWriMo Here I Come!

The first time I heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) was some years ago, when I was teaching a Gotham Writers class in Greenwich Village. Teaching in the Village was a joy, and I’d always get there hours early so that I could wander around. One day I got caught in a terrible rain storm and went dashing into a little cafe and a man wearing a top hat seated me at a table. There I had the best bread pudding I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a lot, and in the years after that, I would often go to that spot, but the man in the top hat was never there again. Neither was the bread pudding all that good.

That’s neither here nor there, except to say that during that class I had a student who was a good writer, except for the fact that she adamantly refused to use contractions. So finally I said, “You know, your writing would be a lot smoother if you would use contractions,” and she said, “I know, but I’m trying to increase my word count for NaNoWriMo.”

I could not see the point, at the time, of forcing yourself to write poorly simply to take part in a writing challenge, but time passed, and one November I desperately needed a first draft of my novel and thought, I’ll give it a try.

And I loved it.

It completely focused my mind on my writing. It challenged me to test out scenarios I might otherwise have avoided. I loved earning badges. Loved the sense of community. Loved the fact that at the end of it all I wound up with 50,000 words (including contractions!) I probably only wound up using 10,000 of those words, but I wouldn’t have had them otherwise, so that was okay with me.

So now I’m on the brink of another November. I’m starting on a new novel and eager to see where this month takes me. I would also love some bread pudding, but that’s another story. Have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo?

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