by Maddie Lowman
November 1 is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo, or NaNo as it is affectionately called by its writers). The mission: to write 50,000 words in a month, logging 1,667 words a day. There is quite a bit of backstory to the month, but one thing always remains the same: 50,000 words is quite the intimidating number.
Not to fear! One of the best features of the NaNo website is the community. With message boards, local groups, and more, a writer is not really alone in their struggle, even when they are sequestered in their room, fueled by protein bars and energy drinks, trying to pound out the last 10,000 words in the meager three hours before November ends. But, of course, NaNo hopes you won’t have to do that.
This is where authors like Gene Yuan Lang step in. Throughout the month of November, NaNo has famous authors give tips and tricks, or “pep talks” to try to nudge each new or seasoned wrimo along their way. The very first talk to kick off the month is by the well known author and artist of “American Born Chinese,” as well as other titles.
In his talk, Yang begins by assuring wrimos that what they are doing is an important act, no matter what other people in their family or friends circle may say. Because NaNo is so time consuming, many wrimos face opposition in the form of friends and family who feel rejected or neglected because their wrimo is so focused in on their work. Not to worry, this is normal! Don’t let them discourage you; they just don’t understand.
Yang then gives a few tips for how to get through the month relatively unscathed, coming out the other side of the tunnel with a fully-finished pieced-together rough draft that you have an entire year to edit into something not hacked out in a mere thirty days. These tips are anywhere from how to power through writer’s block to write like a well-oiled machine, where to find inspiration in things happening beyond your tiny square of a desk, and to keep in touch with the community, so they can lend you strength to fight your demons.
I won’t go into more detail, because it’s a short and entirely worthy read (Once again, it can be found here), but I will say this one thing: I completely agree with Yang when he says, “Just so you know, when it’s you versus demons, I put my money on you every time.” Happy writing, Wrimos!