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National Novel Writing Month

Every year, November rolls around and my friends hear me talk about large numbers, writing, and not having time for anything. It's National Novel Writing Month, where crazy people around the world decide to attempt to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days.

How long have you done it?
I found out about Nanowrimo on November 1, 2003. I participated from 2003-2005 and 2008-2009. Significant travel plans during the month of November kept me from participating in 2006 and 2007.

Have you always finished?
No way. I didn't finish either of my college years, and I think my word counts were around 10-20k both times. My first win came as soon as I got a laptop with a battery that worked, and I've finished each attempt since then.

What happens when you win?
Nothing. It just means you wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. You get access to "winner goodies" on the website, which includes a printable certificate, a jpeg that essentially says "I won," etc. Lately sponsors have been more active, and CreateSpace has been offering a free printing of the book for winners.

Do you want to be a published writer?
Nope, at least not a published fiction writer. I don't think I'm a very good fiction writer, and I just do Nano for a challenge and because the community makes it fun. I'm sticking with my day job.

What do you do with your novels?
Burn them!!! I only have two semi-complete novels. It took me November of both 2008 and 2009 to finish the plot of the most recent one, which is now sitting around waiting for editing. I have no idea what I'll do with it afterwards. 2005's novel was put into an anthology called Afterhours that was a project that a few of us Microsoftie Wrimos decided to do to raise money for Room to Read during the company's annual Giving Campaign.

Do you write alone?
A lot of the time, yes. But Seattle's Nanowrimo community is really active, and there are group "write-ins" pretty much every day in November. So I go to a few of those, and Jenni and Sandy and I have met up for at the beginning of November to do a writing/eating binge weekend.

What did you write about this year?
I completed the second half of the plot that I started last year, which is technically against Nano "rules," but it was the only way I was ever going to finish that novel. It's a crappy fantasy novel about a courtier in a female-dominated society and the political turmoil that ensues when the ruler of that country falls in love with the leader of a "barbarian" nation.

How do I participate?
Sign up on the Nanowrimo site. Figure out what you're going to write before November approaches (or don't -- a lot of people plan on the fly), and write 50,000 words in November. If you're the social type, find out if your local community is active, and attend events!


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