'Tis the Season For Writing
Got a novel percolating in your brain? Sign up for National Novel Writing Month and try to push 50,000 words out in thirty days. The NaNoWriMo folks can tell you exactly how many words you’ll need to write each day, if you want to win this challenge. Suffice it to say, you’ll need a lot of words to make the daily count.
Is poetry your pleasure? You’ll be interested in the November 2012 Poem-a-Day Chapbook Challenge. You don’t even have to sign up for this challenge; you just need to write your poems according to the daily prompt. When the month ends, you’ll send in your manuscript for judging, and your chapbook of poetry could be a winner!
Perhaps you’re drawn to children’s books? This is the last day to officially sign up for Picture Book Idea Month. That’s right—idea. You don’t need to write an entire manuscript every day. You only need an idea. One sweet, massively brilliant idea for a picture book. And at the end of the month, you and your 30 ideas are eligible for prizes.
November truly is a writer’s bonanza! And if you’re the kind of writer who needs/enjoys a push, I hope you’ll sign up for the challenge that suits you. But if you do, I hope you’ll think about the time you’re investing, and make that investment pay off for you.
I know writers who've completed a NaNo novel—only to dump those 50,000 words in December. And yes, to complete a novel in a month means plot holes and character gaps and let’s face it—an awful lot of crummy writing. But I’ll bet you’ll find an awful lot of fine writing in that manuscript, too. You most likely have an idea that you really love, if you’re going to take the time to write 50,000 words about it. So, sure, give yourself some time off. But come January, give that NaNo novel a fighting chance.
The same goes for your poems and picture book ideas. Polish up your favorite daily poems. Take a cherished idea and follow through with it. Turn it into a picture book manuscript. Get your work critiqued by your writer’s group or at a conference, and send those poems and picture books out into the world for an opportunity at publication.
Come on, writers! By the end of November, you may have astronomical word counts. Make those word counts count!
~Cathy C. Hall