So You Want to be a Writer

There is no better time to sharpen your writing chops than November, National Novel Writing Month.

You only have two days left to pull out that best seller right out of you. A feat that 200,000 attempted in 2010, according to the National Novel Writing Month movement. A feat that has produced more than 2.5 billion words in 2011. Yes, billion!

“The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have.”

How does it work?

  1. Participants register on the novel-writing website. There are two categories, one for adults and one for young writers age 17 and under.
  2. The budding authors began writing Nov. 1, with a goal of completing a 50,000-word (about a 175-page) novel by midnight Nov. 30. The young author wannabes set individual word-count goals.
  3. Word counts are updated on the website and progress tracked during the month.

The purpose?

To get folks writing!

Need motivation?

To encourage these efforts, book stores and writing circles across the country have sponsored events throughout November. My local indie book store is one of them.

On Nov. 12, the Clinton Book Shop in New Jersey hosted YA-Lapalooza, a celebration of young adult books with six young adult authors. I attended this event with my 13-year-old daughter and her friend, both authors in the making.

Here’s what my daughter said about talking with the authors:

  • “It was cool because I got one-on-one time with the authors. They told me to get an agent. They said to write what I know because then I won’t confuse myself.”
  • “They told me not to get discouraged when I have writer’s block. They said to write every day and read a lot. They said to especially read the kind of books I want to write.”
  • “The event showed that the people who run the store and the authors have an interest in helping kids become writers.”

What can you do?

Well, November is almost over, and it’s too late for this year’s novel-writing program. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get started on your novel, or short story, or magazine article, or poem, or blog, or whatever.

Follow the advice of best-selling author Chris Cleave (Little Bee & Incendiary), “The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have.”

So give it a go now. You want to be a writer, right?

Nicole vanEsselstyn writes newsletter features bylined articles, award entries, executive speeches and other random editorial gems for Rhudy & Co. clients.