You may have friends who are doing NaNoWriMo, or you may be doing it yourself. or you may have no idea what it is.

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It’s a bit of a misnomer: it’s international, and you won’t get a novel written in one month however hard you try.

The aim is that in the month of November you try and write 50,000 words. That is possible, although not easy. Like anything with writing, it has its champions and its critics. Criticisms include tales of agents spending December deluged by hastily written crap. Another is the focus on word count, rather than quality.

I like the idea of NaNoWriMo, although I have never managed to hit 50,000 words in one month. Mighty Like a Rose started off as a NaNoWriMo effort, although I don’t think I had even 10,000 words by the end of it. Its focus on word count rather than quality is its strength – it gives you opportunity to turn off the inner editor. There’s no time to search for the perfect phrase, you need to get the story down.

Of course that doesn’t give you a novel, it gives you at best a first draft. But it’s a lot easier to polish 50,000 words, to expand on the ideas and firm up the plot, than it is to write thousands of words of perfect prose.

I’m trying again this year, and I very much doubt I’ll “win” by getting 50,000 words. But I’ll have some words, which is better than none.

NaNoWriMo isn’t somethign that works for everyone, but if it does work for oyu go for it, and have fun!