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Guerilla Writing –or- The Daily Grind Idea That Should Have Been Mine  John Caruso
 Oct 04, 2004 16:02 PDT 

Guerilla Writing –or- The Daily Grind Idea That Should Have Been Mine

Special Note: First of all I want to take a moment to offer my apologies
for missing the second post last month. Things were unexpectedly hectic
and October snuck up on me like sleep on a drunkard. For some
reason—calendars be damned!—I thought I still had one more week of
September. But apparently I was wrong. So let’s just chalk this one up
to a bad case of lunacy and call it a day.

But now on to better things.

This week, I’m going to diverge a bit from the typical Daily Grind to
let everyone know of a great opportunity that’s just about to come
a-knock-knock-knockin’ at your door. November marks the 6th annual
National Novel Writing Month. The idea behind the National Novel Writing
Month is to get all of us tentative writers writing.

To quote from their web page (http://www.nanowrimo.org/):


National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to
novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to
write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over talent and craft, NaNoWriMo is
a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about
writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in
NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze
approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on
the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good
thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving
yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and
editing and just create. To build without tearing down.


This will be the first year I am participating, and I couldn’t be more
excited. The whole idea behind this experience sounds like a Daily Grind
post I never wrote. As a matter of fact I say, “fie upon my slow and
sluggish brain for not thinking of this sooner.” Throughout the years, I
have (for the most part) touted the idea of getting your words on paper.
Writing 50,000 words in one month is definitely moving us in that

For a serial procrastinator like me, having a specific (albeit soft with
no sword of Damocles type consequences) deadline will propel me toward
production. Granted there are no prizes for “fastest novel completed” or
“closest word count to 50,000,” but then again, it doesn’t involve any
monetary outlay either (unless you want to donate to their cause—all
pertinent information is on their website). In fact, no one will ever
even READ your novel (they have a “robotic” word counter that verifies
the length of your work). But by the end of November, you will have a
50,000+ word novel that you can then begin to edit, rewrite, and hone. I
dare say that’s a good month’s worth of work. In the end, this is an
exercise in getting the words out of our heads and onto our paper. To
me, that sounds like a month well spent in a very Daily Grind-y kind of

To register (again it’s free—the writer’s favorite word) or for more
information, simply go http://www.nanowrimo.org. I suppose I should
interject here that I have no affiliation what-so-ever with NaNoWriMo.
It just seemed like one of those opportunities I thought you would like
to know about.

And if anyone else decides to give it a whirl, I’d love to hear about
your experience. Drop me a line (joh-@coffeehouseforwriters.com ) and
let me know how you’re faring.

Now go limber up those muscles, crack open those new pens you bought
last month, and get writing.

John Caruso

Copyright 2004, John Caruso
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