As my writing friends are aware, November is National Novel Writing Month, more commonly known as NaNoWriMo, or NaNo, and it's an annual challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. The biggest complaint I've heard (from publishing industry people) is that far too many of those writers then begin querying their novels on December 1st.
Those who know better (ahem *straightens lapels*) write another 20,000 words, minimum, then write several more drafts before declaring the novel complete. I participated for the first time last year and by November 30th I had 63,000 words. I didn't pick it back up until mid-summer, and I finished the first draft last month. Yes, I'm talking about After the Fall.
I've heard a lot of complaints about NaNo -- aside from the querying gripe -- and the most common is that "forcing yourself to write that many words daily" is just teaching bad habits. NaNo's manta is to let yourself write crap (or at least that's how I remember it) and these naysayers seem to think that no one is capable out a high daily output that's not crap.
Well I think that's crap.
Buzz on the street (ie the internet) is that professional writers, those who have a new book or two published every year, regularly write that much per day. 2000 words is roughly 6 pages, and if you're writing a 300-page book (*busts out calculator*) it would take 50 days to write 100,000 words. Now obviously most people won't keep up that pace, but even if you add a month or two extra, the quantity doesn't seem that far-fetched.
What I took away from NaNo is the knowledge that I can write 2000 words per day. Sure, I need to break my writing sessions into two or three sittings, and actually getting up from my desk is important, but I can do it.
That said, this year... I'm not doing it. I'm looking forward to the edits on "nanonovel08", as I lovingly called it while writing last November, and I'm not ready to start a new idea. To all of you who are -- GOOD LUCK!!