In case you are unaware (and I haven’t spoken with you in the past couple weeks), November is National Novel Writing Month. Now, it is true that every day and every week and every month is some sort of official something day or week or month, but this one–believe it or not–is widely observed by, well, writers. This year, close to 30,000 people are officially signed up on the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) website, tracking their observance.

My novella-in-progress.

My novella-in-progress.

How does one observe? The whole point of this month-long festivity is to write a novel in one month. Specifically, it means to put 50,000 words down on paper and can include Write Ins (meeting with other NaNoWriMo participants to sit and drink coffee or imbibe beer and ignore each other; laptops required), local meetups, daily inspirational emails, quotes, and articles, registration (which can include your potential novel cover and synopsis, as well as the typical author bio and photo), prizes and awards, and tracking oneself on the website. I love the tracking bit: all those graphs telling me target words per day and showing me how I measure up. And I am also really enjoying the Write Ins: snuggled up with my mind and story and an orange juice with seltzer, the quiet hum of classic rock, interrupting my friends’ typing to ask a serious question about point of view, and racing a train home down deserted, frosty roads.

But the best part is the process of NaNoWriMo. Because whether or not it produces the next best seller (through me, obviously), I will have learned more in this month than in at least the last six. Removing myself from my usual writing process (edit as I write), speeding up my usual speed (one novel per year), and focusing on a specific goal (to the detriment of my general life) has really been flexing muscles I had no idea I had. And it’s invigorating and fun and involves mob mentality.

All that to say, I won’t be blogging in my usual way for the remainder of November. I can’t. I have to produce 2,200 words per day for the next 18 days on top of managing Thanksgiving and a Nine-Year-Old Spa Birthday Party (on top of being that other, domestic Devon). 2,200 words per day completely zaps my 5 1/2 hour work day (sometimes, plus some). So I will see you on the flip side, for reviews and witty insight into the writing world and self publishing. As for now, enjoy riding along with me for NaNoWriMo and consider your own observation, next year. Or if you are not a writer or aspiring writer, celebrate by honoring the novel and read.

*To continue this thread with the rest of NaNoWriMo 2013, click here.

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