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National Novel Writing Month

It's November and you know what that means. Yes, turkey (or tofurkey), obviously, but it's also National Novel Writing Month. Each year, through the month of November, writers around the world work to complete 50,000 words of their novels in a long sprint that can reach the heights of both agony and ecstasy.

There is a lot of debate back and forth every year, bickering between working writers and newcomers, about what good NaNoWriMo does.

It's true that you will very rarely have a finished novel with the completion of 50,000 words. It's very true that it takes a lot of practice to be able to produce 50,000 words that are usable, let alone publishable. And it takes even more practice to be able to produce 50,000 usable words in the space of thirty days.

It makes a lot of sense to me why some working writers who have spent many years honing their craft and learning how to produce at such a rate might have a chip on their shoulder about NaNoWriMo. There's an idea that it brings a profession to the level of hobbyist and it creates a lot of misconceptions about what we do.

I see that, but it's not something I necessarily agree with.

I'm of the opinion that everyone should be writing. It doesn't always have to be a novel, but we need to be a society that cares more about the written word and there's no way to do that if not everyone is capable of stringing sentences together. I also think that encouraging people to write, no matter their skill level is a good thing.

But National Novel Writing Month is one of my favorite times of the year.

Today, I'm on my 481st consecutive day of writing. I write every day because I have deadlines and goals, but it was NaNo that got me there. It was the thing that showed me how to take those next steps. It helped me to transform from a hobbyist into a professional. There's no doubt that I learned the discipline and the tenacity it requires to be a professional writer by starting as that amateur.

Maybe some writers feel threatened by new writers for some reason. Maybe if one of those new writers shows up and lands that big deal they wanted in much shorter order than the professional, it reflects poorly on their self-esteem. Or something. I'm not sure. I always feel good about the victories of new writers, whether I've helped mentor them or not. It's no threat to me. There will always be successful writers, it's not as though one more will prevent me from joining that club.

Writing isn't a competition. You do your work, you write as honestly as you can, and it speaks for itself. If you use NaNoWriMo as a way to get to a place where that comes naturally, then it's the best tool in the world.

So if you want to be a writer, try it. I'm a big believer in trying out different techniques and maybe the sprinting through 50,000 words in the month of November will make you realize that's the way you write best. Or maybe it makes you realize why your writing process previous to trying NaNo was better. Either way, you've learned something and that can't be a bad thing.

So go try to write that novel. Try to do it this month.

If it gets you there, then it's the right thing to do.

As for me, I'll be tracking my word count on the NaNo website. Feel free to add me as a friend. My username on there (since they won't let me change it to Swankmotron) is ShineBoxMP.  I've already got 3k words. I did over 100,000 words last year and I hope to beat it.
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As for my writing, I've had a bunch of stuff come out.

I did a piece on The Haunted Mansion for Howstuffworks.com that you can read here.  I also did a piece for them about Wonder Woman becoming an official UN Ambassador.

I wrote a piece about Princess Mononoke in my Cinema Behind Star Wars column which you can check out here.

I also hosted that Q&A with Shakespeare Star Wars author Ian Doescher and you can watch it below:



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As a reminder: Please join my short story Patreon here.  Your contributions to the Patreon help me write more like this.

The Aeronaut and Escape Vector are still out and still need your purchases and reviews. If nothing else, they can use you telling people about them. If you want signed copies, visit the shop here on this page.

As far as my work outside of all this: There's a lot of great stuff on Big Shiny Robot! and Full of Sith for you. 

And please, please, please don't forget to check out any of my books, drop reviews of them on Amazon or Goodreads, and follow me on twitter and Facebook!

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