As November approaches, many of you may be thinking something like the following (and please, never say “think to yourself” which is my newest writerly pet peeve. Can you think to anyone else? No.):

1) November? I thought it was March.
2) Crikey, holiday gift time again!
3) the old standby Where the hell did the year go?
4) One more chance to make a good impression–on the world (on November 4).

Yet some of us–yours truly included–are also about to think and say some form of Ready? Set? Go! when National Novel Writing Month kicks off November 1. This self-described kamikaze writing marathon began nearly 10 years ago in San Francisco with about 21 participants and has grown in leaps and bounds (100,000 psychotic participants wrote their hands off in 2007), despite requiring people to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel in one month.

At this point what most people are thinking, other than Why?, can’t be reprinted here. But I think if you’re asking why, there’s no point explaining (and a true writer would never ask).

Obviously, writing a novel in a month requires one thing: output, and plenty of it. “It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly,” say the NaNoWriMo folks. It also requires you to write about 6 pages every day. Of the month.

So, as I suppose this post visibly commits me, I’ll be logging in my word count to the NaNoWriMo site, and uploading a counter to my blog so anyone who is interested can check my progress. Expect some excerpts should I really take this ‘lowering expectations’ thing so to heart I believe my readers have lowered theirs as well, and perhaps some updates about what it’s really like out in the field. And of course it’s very likely that I will be offering less posts here in general; maybe I’ll just have time to share a snapshot of my desk in progress. (speaking of, if you haven’t already, check out the desk of writer and critic A. Alvarez, which he’s offered up over at the Guardian.)

The best part–you too can take part in this write-a-thon. Then we can all write. We can commiserate. We can party like literati when we’re done.

So, any takers?

(Still confused? Visit How NaNoWriMo Works)
Photo courtesy NaNoWriMo

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