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It was a dark and stormy … month

line It was a dark and stormy … month

The slogan: “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!”

November is coming, and the ever-shorter days mean that it’s time again for National Novel Writing Month – or “NaNoWriMo.” It’s a mostly- (but not entirely-)online assemblage of writers and non-writers and wanna-be-writers, who join a collective national effort to write, in the space of one November, a novel of 50,000 words.

Does it need to be a classic? Does it need to be good? Does it need to have any actual readers?

The answer to each of these question is a firm No! NaNoWriMo is about the WriMo part, and each writer “wins” not by reaching a specific number of sales, but simply by reaching a specific number of words. That’s it.

Yes, this will produce much truly terrible writing, the “it was a dark and stormy night” kind of awfulness. But it will also produce a little transcendence, and maybe out of this will come the first, never-published novel of someone who will become a great voice of his/her generation.

After all, a sponsor of NaNoWriMo is CreateSpace, the Amazon subsidiary for self- and small publishers. (And NaNoWriMo’s parent organization, the Office of Letters and Light, runs programs to support young writers.)

I participated in a local-only nonfiction variation of NaNoWriMo in 2007. I reached the word goal, too – but that’s something for another time.

For now, check out the NaNoWriMo website.