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National Novel Writing Month

NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month is almost here. Starting at midnight on November 1, about 400,000 writers on six continents will start writing with the goal of producing 50,000 words of new fiction by the end of the month. It's a wonderful bit of insanity, and this will be my ninth year doing it.

Have you ever said "One day I'd like to write a novel?" NaNoWriMo is the answer to the one-day novel. Don't wait for one day, do it in November! You won't have a best-seller ready to pitch to publishers on December 1, but if you follow through with the writing, you will have a great start on it with a complete (or nearly so) first draft. The need to crank out an average of 1,667 words every day teaches you how to turn off your inner editor and just write, an important skill for any writer. Don't worry about making it perfect, just get it down. Perfection is for editing, and that comes later.

There's no guarantee that what you produce will be worth editing, let alone publishing, but at the very least you will have written a manuscript, and you will have improved as a writer. The first few years I did NaNoWriMo my "novels" were utter crap. But each time I got better as a writer, and each time it came easier. Last year gave me the first draft of Uncommon Counsel. This year... who knows? I don't do it to get a publishable novel, and you probably shouldn't either. I do it as a writing exercise, and there's none better.

If you ever want to write a book, you should check out NaNoWriMo. Go to the website, Sign up, select a local region (there's local regions all over the world, and most have lots of fun activities and chances to write with others during the month), and get ready to write. Do it. You'll thank me later. I promise!

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