Lazette Gifford
Publisher & Editor
zette@cableone.net

 

From the Editor:
NaNo: No Stress, No Problems

By Lazette Gifford
2005,
Lazette Gifford


Most likely by the time you read this I will be deep into the throes of writing madness.  It strikes me every year in November, and I don't come up for breath until December.  My husband brings in Taco Bell food and the cats avoid my office.  I work harder at writing during that month than I do the rest of the year.

And I do it for fun.

National Novel Writing Month -- aka, NaNoWriMo or NaNo -- runs from November 1 through November 30 of every year.  This is my fifth year joining in the madness of writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days.  For someone who is used to writing every day, that's not a real challenge and so a few of us make the challenge a little harder by writing more.  I intend to write an entire novel in November which may be 100,000 words or more.  I have, in the past, written more than one complete novel, though I've never written more than 190,000 words for NaNo.

What motivates a person to do something so insane?

For NaNo first-timers the lure is usually just to find out if they can write a novel.  Many who join have never written anything that long, let alone in a single month.  After they've signed up their moods general range from 'let's get going!' to 'what the hell have I done?'

The odd thing is that's usually the same reaction the next year... and the year after that....

People come back because NaNo is about having fun with writing.  You don't have to do an outline.  You might just pick and choose dares from the thread that pops up on the NaNo boards each year.  Some people try not to have more than a vague idea of what they want to write before they start.  Others do character sheets, outlines, drawings, maps, and all the other pre-work material that they enjoy.

That's the word, you see: Enjoy.  NaNo isn't about proving anything.  It isn't about writing the great novel, or about perfection. It isn't, even, about winning.  It's about enjoying the act of writing just for itself and letting yourself fly for a whole month without worrying about anything else.   It's about joining in the only intellectual activity of its kind along with thousands of others from around the world.

For some people it has rekindled the joy of writing they'd lost somewhere along the way.  For a few professionals who join in it's either a way to get a good push on a new novel they have under contract, or the chance to write something just for themselves.

I'm going to have fun during November.  While the weather turns cold and the leaves fall off all the trees, and everything looks bleak and dreary, I'm going to be typing away in my office working on a novel -- or maybe two.

For the rest of you -- don't forget to have fun.

And I'll see you next year for the first issue of our sixth year in production!