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November marks beginning of National Novel Writing Month

By by timothy dangerspecial to the advocate
Oct. 24, 2012 at 5:24 a.m.


Editor's note: This will be Timothy Danger's last column.

In 1999, Chris Baty and 20 of his friends decided to try to write a novel in one month. There wasn't any real reason for it, no ambitions of fame and fortune, they did it for the same reason other people start bands. They wanted to make some noise and frankly didn't have anything else better to do. Plus, they thought novelists would have an easier time getting dates than non-novelists.

Years later, and the event known as National Novel Writing Month or "NaNoWriMo," as it is affectionately called, spans the globe and has hundreds of thousands of participants, with thousands of those actually finishing the task.

The rules are simple. Write an original novel. No co-authors. It can be any genre. Upload the scrambled manuscript to the site for verification. Bask in your awesomeness.

I have had the pleasure of being a three-time participant and finisher. Writing a 50,000-word-first-draft novel is hard work. It's a crazy undertaking, and there is no money in it. The reward is in finishing.

I've had people ask me why I have done it and made my Novembers so stressful. The reason is that writing a novel is always one of those "someday" tasks. You know, "someday I'm going to write a novel," or, "Someday I'm going to go to Europe." Well, we're not getting any younger. The hardest thing to do when writing a book is starting. Your inner editor is constantly trying to censor you when the best thing to do is just type it out and sort out your typos and plot holes later.

Let's face it, writing a novel is a crazy task. Writing one in 30 days is even crazier. But the reward of finishing something you didn't even know you had inside you is amazing. The fact you can do a feat that over half of the people who start won't be finishing is something to be proud of. Art, after all, is creating something from nothing, and that couldn't be more true with NaNoWriMo.

You can visit nanowrimo.org for more info.

Timothy Danger is the music and content director as well as a co-host of the Old Man and Bitter Girl Podcast, which focuses on independent music, art and culture. He is also a musician.

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