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October 18, 2008 / schulerbooks

The November Country, or Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo and You Should Too.

Bookstore employees have a reputation as one of the more eccentric demarcations of industry, but still there were the odd glances and steps taken backwards when I broke the news to my fellow lit-slingers that I would be participating in National Novel Writing Month; an annual event where participants world wide try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

The prospect seems a little daunting: if you write the exact same amount every day that’s 1,665 words a day- 2,000 if you take weekends and Thanksgiving off. On the other hand, between emails, blog postings, text messages, and message boards, I probably write twice that on a daily average, (and that’s not even counting the writing I do for my day job—like this blog post for instance.)

But still, trying to get this all done in a month -wouldn’t it be better to take as much time as I need? Well, maybe. But this way by the end of this month I’ll (hopefully) have a complete novel, full of plot holes and spelling errors, but complete nonetheless.

Therein lies the other reason: The only conscription of victory in NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words completed by midnight November 30. It doesn’t have to be good, or coherent, or exhaustively researched. NaNoWriMo is the punk rock of literature.

Look at it this way: If I can write a crappy novel in 30 days, then YOU could write a crappy novel in 30 days. And if you’re going to write one, why not come down to our Eastwood store on Wednesdays at 7:30pm? There you find others undertaking the same Herculian* labor crying into their lattes and ruminating over the state of their word counts. (Okay, that’ll probably be just me.) If you’re still not sure, why not check out No Plot, No Problem by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty.

*As in the Greek demigod, not the Agatha Christie detective

If you’re still daunted, yet compelled to put pen to paper in a less intensive endeavor, you should check out the monthly meeting of the Planet F.I.C.T.I.O.N. Writer’s Workshop & Discussion Group, meeting the last Tuesday of every month in our store.

Either way, if you see a shambling, broken-looking man, held aloft by his beard and a mug of our Chapbook Cafe’s fine mocha, be sure to ask how my word count’s looking.**

**Okay, this is a bit of an embellishment- for one thing, I’m eagerly loking forward to this project, and the challenge of it all has me chomping at the bit for October to hurry up and finish. For another, my co-workers will attest I look like that every day.


-Greg Baldino, Eastwood Staffer, Planet F.I.C.T.I.O.N. Facilitator, and


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