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November is National Writing Month

Write 50,000 words in one month. That's the challenge of NaNoWriMo (National Writing Month). Insane, right?

Right. Despite this, NaNoWriMo allows many would-be authors to finally start that novel, polish an existing manuscript and release it into the world, or dust off that heap of papers hidden in the bottom desk drawer (okay, that's a metaphor, the dust would be virtual and the file is no further away than the click of a button) and turn that scramble of words into a completed book.

I'm not a 'seat of your pants' kind of writer. My plotting is methodical, I obsess over the number of pages in my chapters and dither about which adjective sounds better. But sometimes you just have to let creativity take a front seat while you ride shotgun.

When it was still a work in progress, my fifth novel (From Away) was 10,000 words of potential, but it was fragmented and not going anywhere. I figured the NaNoWriMo challenge might be a good solution. All I really needed was a shitty first draft, the experts say. I could worry about polishing it up later.

My goal was 1,333 words a day. (I already had a 10,000 word head start.) There were some days I couldn't write because I have a life and a family and responsibilities. So some days the word count had to be higher.

I used every filler word I could think of. I stopped caring about my grammar and just wrote for the pure joy of it.

Amazingly, I finished my goal at the end of November and collected my prize. What's the prize? A completed draft. And a logo you can download for your website. And bragging rights.

So if you're considering a NaNoWriMo experience, do it. It works.

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