Back after a brief hiatus, I'd like to talk about National Novel Writing Month. Founded by Chris Baty in 1999, the idea is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. It works out to the inexact number of 1,667 words a day - an impressive amount. Let's discuss some of the pros and cons.
The main advantage to jumping into Nano is a kick start to your writing. You will never realize how much you can get done until you start aiming for 50,000. I try Nano every year and am surprised every time of just how much I am capable of. Chris Baty calls it the power of the deadline, and it works. You will be amazed at just how easy it is to write 1,500 to 2,000 words in a day.
Another advantage is that the more you write, the better you write. You will find your writing makes a leap in quality after a few days of high output.
The drawbacks I've seen are that sometimes the words aren't flowing and if you force it to reach your daily goal, often you end up with pages full of garbage. But Nanoers will tell you that doesn't matter - just edit it out later. The important thing is to keep writing, and there is something to be said for that.
Another con I've found is tangents. Again, while proponents of the Novel-in-Thirty days method will tell you tangents are a great way to pad your word count, I see them as a massive waste of time. Why purposefully write something you know you won't keep?
Also, if you ask most working writers, they write between 2,000 and 3,000 words a day anyway, so it really isn't the sprint it's made out to be.
But I must admit, Nano is fun. And as I work on rewrites of the Nano novels I've done, I am always surprised by the quality. Usually, they're nearly as good as the writing I spend more time on anyway.
So, I'm off on the race to 50,000. Wish me luck and I encourage anyone interested to give it a shot.
The worst that can come of it is you'll write a lot, and that's a good thing.