Your Copy Sucks: NaNoWriMo

Final_nano_logo_with_text_TransparentIt’s November, which means NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

NaNoWriMo can also be called “the month where all your wordy friends disappear from the planet.”

If you’ve never heard of it, here’s the scoop: for the month of November, participants sign up for the NaNo challenge. Their goal is to write a 50,000 word novel by the end of the month. Some quick math reveals that this means writing a little under 2,000 words a day on average, and that doesn’t sound very difficult.

Except it is. It really, really is. Less than 20% of the people who sign up actually hit the 50,000 word goal.

I’m not even attempting it this year, but I did last year, and I just barely came up with my 50,019 word novel on November 30. It was without a doubt one of the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I used to clean crab for a living.

Why should you care about this annual event?

Over 100,000 people are participating this year. While that may not seem like a lot, think about what it would look like if 100,000 people started tearing out their hair all at once and wailing at the moon. That’s kind of like what NaNo is like. The point is, if you’re in PR, you’re used to pitching to journalists, bloggers, reporters . . . in other words, writers. The odds are very high that some of the people you work with are going to be distracted even more than usual because of this challenge. I don’t know about other people in book PR, but I’ve noticed that some of my most stalwart book reviewers suddenly become unavailable sometime around Halloween. Plan your outreach accordingly.

And try to show a little support if you can. NaNo is the Boston marathon of writing; these guys and gals are working hard. So if you see some friends on Twitter or Facebook babbling about their daily word total, give them a virtual high five. Or donate. The NaNo folks do a lot of good work, like teen writing workshops.

So to this year’s participants, good luck! To everyone who’s lost a friend or loved one to seductive words for 30 days, remain calm. And happy writing to everyone, everywhere.

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