I’ve written fiction for a very, very long time. I’ve never finished anything longer than a short story of about 5,000 words. A couple of times, I’ve attempted longer form fiction, only to be stumped, time and again. I have never, to the best of my knowledge, crossed the 10,000 word barrier. I’ve come close, but that’s it. My high water mark is one fifth of a full-length novel.
And that’s what NaNoWriMo is about. It’s about getting it done. In 30 days, participants grind through 50,000 words and finish a whole novel, even if it sucks. Just break those barriers and make it happen! The “official” ten-step process is:
1) Sign up for the event by clicking the “Start Here” button at NaNoWriMo.org.
2) Follow the instructions on the following screen to create an account.
2.5) Check your email for the account validation email and click on the link included.
3) Log into your account, where you’ll be prompted to finish the sign-up process.
4) Start filling out information about yourself and your novel in My NaNoWriMo.
5) Begin procrastinating by reading through all the great advice and funny stories in the forums. Post some stories and questions of your own. Get excited. Get nervous. Try to rope someone else into doing this with you. Eat lots of chocolate and stockpile noveling rewards.
6) On November 1, begin writing your novel. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. You write on your own computer, using whatever software you prefer.
7) This is not as scary as it sounds.
8 ) Starting November 1, you can update your word count in that box at the top of the site, and post excerpts of your work for others to read. Watch your word-count accumulate and story take shape. Feel a little giddy.
9) Write with other NaNoWriMo participants in your area. Write by yourself. Write. Write. Write.
9.25) If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner’s Page and receive a handsome winner’s certificate and web badge. We’ll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.
9.3333) Reward yourself copiously for embarking on this outrageously creative adventure.
10) Win or lose, you rock for even trying.
So there you have it. Why am I writing about this here? Because I’m hoping that by announcing my attentions I’ll feel just the slightest bit accountable for not completing them.
Oh, wait, what? Why am I writing this instead of my novel? Because I’m procrastinating, natch. My plot is still pretty sketchy. And I have this thing that I’ve been trying to take care of. And I have to work today. And I don’t have a desk set up in my new house yet. And…
OK, fine. I’m going.
Steve Skojec is a storyteller, writer, blogger, photographer, designer, and sci-fi fan. He is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. He lives in Arizona with his wife Jamie and six of their seven children.