Yesterday was the first day of November, and if you’re a writer — especially if you are a fiction writer — you should know what that means. It means it was time to start writing your novel!
November marks the annual start of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NANOWRIMO (www.nanowrimo.org). I am proud to say that in 2005 I was one of many winners of this 30-day contest. Winning simply requires that you turn in (and have counted) a 50,000-word (175-page) novel by midnight on November 30. The novel doesn’t have to be any good. In fact, the contest is all about quantity not quality, the idea being that you should shut your inner critic away in a closet in your mind for 30 days and simply write something — anything. The goal is to start and to finish a novel — or at least to get started.
I bet you are wondering what happened to that novel of mine, right? Well, I pitched it to several agents at the San Francisco Writers Conference in 2005 and had them all interested, but they all turned it down. I even won the fiction pitch contest with my 25-word description of the book! However, I was told by the agent who would later take me on as a client, Elizabeth Pomada, to leave my fiction writing behind and focus on what I do best — nonfiction. (I took her advice.) She didn’t say that I should have focused more on quality and less on quantity (although she did say the novel was too long — by the time I’d edited and revised it was closer to 65,000 words), but she said it needed editorial help. In other words, the plot was fine, but I needed a good fiction editor. I happen to be a good nonfiction editor, but that wasn’t helping me in the fiction department.
Which brings me to the point of blog. For those of us who don’t write fiction (ever, often or anymore…), what are we supposed to do during the month of November? Well, I say, “WE WRITE NONFICTION!”
I challenge you to join me in starting and finishing (if possible) a work of nonfiction during the next 30 days. You can write an article, a booklet, a newsletter, or a book. Just write something. Whatever nonfiction writing project you’ve been putting off, get started now — today — November 2nd. (Sorry for the short notice; I only just thought of the idea!)
No one will be looking over your shoulder. This is not a contest, and there’s no prize at the end other than the great feeling you will get from knowing you wrote every day and completed your “assignment.” No on is counting your words, nor does anyone care how many words you write (not even me). This is not a contest. It’s simply a challenge to write — and to not write alone. I’ll be writing every day, too, and hopefully some other people will be writing as well.
Plus, this blog will give you a forum to comment and to share your experiences. I’ll try to check the comments every day or two – when I’m not too busy writing – and to moderate a bit. I’ll run the blog for a month and see what happens.
So, without further ado, I’m off to write, and I hope you are, too. (This isn’t a poetry challenge is it?)
P.S. If you want to find out more about me as a writer and editor, you can visit my web site (http://ninaamir.com) and then click on the About link. It will take you to my company, NinaAmir.com. There you will find my published booklets, article samples, newsreleases, services, and much more. Have fun exploring!
I am also writing non-fiction this month but I am finding it to be much more planning intensive than fiction. thanks for sharing ,I have always wanted to hear from other non-fiction writers working on their books this month. I like your approach in that you are not focusing on the number of words but getting the book done. I have read on http://www.steveshapiro.com ‘s blog in this aspect of goal setting.
Nina Amir says
I suppose it depends upon how you approach your fiction writing. Some fiction writers plan out their whole novel in advance and some let the plot develop organically. Some nonfiction writers know exactly what will be in each chapter, and some wing it, but in my experience, those who wing it need a really great editor to fix the mess they create. (I’ve had to fix a few of those.) So, I agree that planning is very helpful — but sometimes time intensive. This is especially true if you also need to do research as part of the planning.
Glad to have you on board and writing. And, by the way, I’m a big proponent of goal setting. You can find lot’s of news releases on my web site on the topic, and my booklet, Planting Seeds of Change, deals with this a fair amount as well.
grant writer says
Hey there, i appreciate article. I’m certainly also a blogger but realize its tough getting my own message out there. Even now seeking to work on seo and so forth. I have subscribed and also expect to check on your site now and again