National Novel Writing Month..what an absolutely corking idea! Thanks to this guy for bringing it to my notice..
The agenda is simple – you get a month to write a novel that has to have atleast 50000 words. The idea behind the idea is that people always function better under a deadline. The thought of producing 50000 words in a month would be dizzying even to the most prolific of writers, and of course the thought of writing a novel of any size at all seems too much of a hurdle to many a lay-person who has idly dreamt of writing the great (indian/american/whatever) novel someday. NaNoWriMo is an opportunity to shake off the laziness, if only for one month. And since the competition only requires that you produce sentences in great quantities, and gives a damn about the quality of your writing, there will be no shattered self-esteems and bruised egos at the end of it. ( I remember being more than a little surprised and disappointed that I hadn’t won the Ayn Rand Essay competition. I bunked many hours of college and skipped meals to write the essay and it didn’t pay off. I realize now that I wrote that essay at the height of my Ayn Rand devotion and sprinkled words like ‘premise’, ‘morality’ and ‘leeches’ liberally all over my word doc..in short, I must have sounded like a dispirited shadow of a pale imitation of Ayn Rand herself. But then, isn’t that what most Ayn Rand fans are like? )
Coming back to the point, what this competition does for one, is help silence the Internal Critic in a budding writer. Any new writer would concede the formidablility of the Internal Critic. If one is under doubt about the extent of his/her writing abilities, the Critic gleefully jumps in and contributes to the uncertainty. It mocks at neatly-turned out phrases, scoffs at metaphors and generally makes one feel like a fool for having written such silly drivel.
Now, if you’re going to make a job out of writing 50000 words a month, which is more than 1800 words a day, either the critic has got to go, or you have got to give up. And if you want to finish what you started badly enough, there’s a fair chance you’ll win over the critic and let yourself make spelling-mistakes, flimsy jokes and errors in sentence construction. You will get a hell lot of bad writing out of your system, and hopefully be a victorious and changed writer in December ( The competition is in November).
Even if the writing does not improve, atleast you’ve written a novel. Bad, trashy, unreadable maybe. But still, a 300-page novel that is all yours. It is more than most people can boast of.
Kudos to whoever thought up this competition!