Why are we hosting a mini writing month during the same month when the infamous NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and NaNoLand madness is in full swing?
Sounds like a crazy idea, doesn't it? Yes, but maybe not so much. Here's why.
In November 2008, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I wrote to victory with a 50,000 word literary crime / mystery novel. I'm a slow and precise writer, so it was hard. And while I'm glad I participated and "won" and there were a lot of things I liked about NaNoWriMo, there were also a lot of things I didn't like.
Let's start with what I liked about NaNoWriMo:
-- Intentionally dedicating time to focus on one's writing.
-- A community of writers all working together toward the same goal.
-- A centralized on-line location where participants "meet" and report progress.
-- The feeling of freedom when writing for quantity not quality.
-- The feeling of achievement as one's word count grows each day.
-- Daily / Weekly inspiration from the organizers and other writers.
-- Local "meet ups" for local NaNoWriMo participants.
Now, what I didn't like about NaNoWriMo:
-- The "kamikaze" approach of dedicating just thirty days to write a novel -- do or die.
-- The ridgid structure of NaNoWriMo (must be a new novel, no works-in-progress).
-- The results of writing for quantity rather than quality.
-- The high percentage of writers who become discouraged in the first week.
-- The rapidity with which a writer can become a "loser" through no fault of their own, i.e.
illness, emergencies, work and daily life events, etc. and never recover.
-- The feeling of deflation at the realization that large chunks of the novel are useless.
-- The amount of time required to revise and edit the rough draft of a NaNo novel.
While I survived my NaNoWriMo and "completed" a 50,000 word novel, I didn't really enjoy the experience. And that, perhaps, is what bothers me the most. It is also why I doubt that I will participate in NaNoWriMo again.
However, in August of 2010, I did participate in a Page-a-Day challenge hosted by the Jungle Red Writers on their blog Writing Well Is the Best Revenge.
The Written Remains MiniWriMo is a mashup of NaNoWriMo and the Page-A-Day challenge with a more flexible structure and less rigid "rules." I created MiniWriMo as a way for writers to not only dedicate time to focus on their work, but to develop a habit of working every day producing quality writing in a community of writers that offers a way for those writers to stick together even after November has passed. And, I hope it will be a little easier, as well as being more satisfying in the long run and more fun, too.
1,667 words x 30 days = 50,010 words (month of November)
The Written Remains MiniWriMo
250 words x 30 days = 7, 500 words (month of November)
250 words x 365 days = 91,250 words (one year of a Page-A-Day)
There are a lot of people who don't finish NaNoWriMo. Year after year they try and don't finish. There are a lot of unfinished NaNo novels out there.
And, to be fair, there are a lot of people who do finish NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words. But they don't have a whole book or a cohesive storyline. Many of these novels are never revised or edited.
I love the idea of NaNoWriMo, but I want a better outcome. And I bet there are other writers out there that do, too. Will the Written Remains MiniWriMo give a better outcome? I hope so, but we won't know for sure until we try.