It’s that time of year again, for those who don’t know what time that is … well it’s time for National Novel Writing Month.
Every year in November, since 1999 the non-profit organization, The Office of Letters and Light challenge writers to write a novel of 50,000 words from scratch beginning November 1st through November 30th. Now doesn’t that sound like fun! Okay, Maybe not for everyone.
For me, it’s a challenge that I’m going to take on this year for the first time, along with my friend Cherese.
Unlike most people, who write including Cherese, I don’t see myself as a writer. I’m a storyteller. What’s the difference? Well I believe writers’ love the act of writing, which is their motivation for writing. And that love of writing motivates them to tell stories. It’s different for me, in fact, the inverse of that. The act of writing is actually quite daunting, but the love of telling a story motivates me to write.
So that’s why when Cherese emailed me about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, I said, oh no! My thinking was, “I’m not a writer and to challenge myself to write 50,000 words in one month would be crazy!” But after some email exchanges and some good points made by her, I changed my mind. So this November I will be writing along with her in NaNoWriMo.
Want to learn a little bit about her and me and what we expect from participating? Keep reading.
Let me first tell you that my name is Jacquitta A. McManus and my friend’s name is Cherese A. Vines. She self-published two books: Countercharm and Countercharm 2: Of Stars and Dreams. I, on the other hand, just published my first book, Labyrinth’s Door – Anyia “Dream of a Warrior”, this past summer through my children’s publishing company, “Worlds To Discover.”
What I hope to get out of this experience is a rough, very rough draft of a story that’s been floating around in my head for years. Let’s call it “The Novel Odyssey,” for fun. It’s a fantasy/adventure story, which is my favorite genre, about a young girl who goes on an adventure. Hmmm, you thought I was going to give you a synopsis. Not yet … the story is still too rough to know what’s going to happen.
Cherese is still deciding whether she will write a science-fiction or fantasy this year, which are her favorite genres. The first year she participated, she wrote a story about a woman who, prompted by bad PMS, used a time machine to go back in time to talk to Eve about the apple. Now that’s interesting! Over the last two years she wrote spy adventures with female leads, which will be part of a four-book series. What’s great about that is she wrote them out of order. She wrote the 1st book first, but wrote the 3rd book second, which is one of the reasons she loves NaNoWriMo. It gives her the chance to try something new without the pressure of a grade, a judge, genre rules or even correct punctuation and spelling. She said that she has so many red underlines in her stories every year that it’s barely coherent in parts.
When I heard that I smiled because it lets me know that it’s okay to have a rough draft of my story. It inspires me to let my guards down and write with freedom.
So for those that might be interested in NaNoWriMo, I encourage you to try it with me. Write with a reckless regard and tell your story.
And as Cherese said, “Everyone has a story in them. Cliché, I know. But they do. Writing is storytelling on paper. I know lots of people who tell a good story. My cousin has me rolling every time she tells me something that’s happened to her and I’m thinking, “Wow, I’ve got to make that into a book.” So whether it’s a memoir or a 700-page 9-volume saga, it’s in there begging to get out. NaNoWriMo is here for the people who love writing and who want to pack their already full lives with another herculean task just for the fun of it. It’s also for people who want to write, but never got around to it. There is a huge support system for the entire month to help get the novice at least started on their best seller. Even if they don’t make it to 50K, they’ve won because they’ve started. Sounds like something corny someone would say in a feel-good flick. Who cares. Rule #1 in NaNoWriMo-land: December is for revisions.”
For more information about NaNoWriMo visit
Happy writing! The road to 50,000 words begins with 1 word!