Most people have heard of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, where aspiring writers all over commit to writing a complete novel during the month of November. The program has many good points and many supporters, of course. Basically, it gets participants out of the planning stages, gets them off their duff, and gets something done.
Success in the challenge is generally considered to be completing 50,000 words. Now, I’m not sure I’ve read many novels as short as that, but then I tend to pick up epics. Additionally, with the emphasis all on word count, it’s too easy to ignore quality. The idea is that you’ll be able to revise after you complete the draft, but if the draft is too bad, you’ll end up starting over anyway. And yes, there’s a little of an elitist in me that says quality matter and just because you can commit 50k words to the page doesn’t make you a novelist.
Clearly my views on NaNoWriMo are mixed at best. The writing group I work with has taken the idea behind NaNoWriMo, however, and applied it to writing short stories. So, during this month of October, we’ve each set ourselves a goal for a number of new short stories we’re going to attempt to complete. We’ve taken the word count out of the equation, yet still set a fairly difficult task—especially when you consider that each of us also has other projects to work on simultaneously, not to mention work, family, and all those other niggling elements of life that get in the way of writing.
My personal goal for October’s Writing Blitz is to complete four new short stories. Since I’m a pathetically slow writer, I consider this a pretty lofty goal. As part of the challenge, I’ve also d the group, and myself, to pick up our blogging output, so I’ll also try to get two blogs posted a week. And we’ll see how all that goes.
So far, I’d have to say I’m off to a slow start, considering I haven’t written anything in the way of a story, although I’ve done some research and prep for writing. (We started our October challenge yesterday, before the first of the month, so we could begin on Monday, which seemed to work well for everyone—it’s like officially cheating!) Obviously, I’ve got some work to do.
But anyway, here’s blog number one. I’ll try to remember to include some updates on how things are going throughout the month.
Follow B. K. Winstead on Twitter at @bkwins