Several years ago, I overheard some people I volunteered with talking about this crazy event where you write a novel (a novella/novelette, really) in a month. I had been writing short stories for years, and thought it sounded like a fun challenge. So that year, I signed up for my first National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and succeeded. The manuscript was awful, and I have no idea where it ended up. Probably best for all of us. I continued to participate over the next few years, serving as Municipal Liaison my last year in San Antonio and my first two years in Seattle before I realized I just didn’t enjoy writing novels and quit to focus on fan fiction.
At the time, I could have switched over to National Short Story Month (NaShoStoMo), but really wasn’t looking to rejoin anything with that much drama. (NaShoStoMo has since ended, enjoying a very brief revival by Dan Wells before completely fading away.) Last year, I discovered NaNo Rebels, which allows you to work on non-novel forms during NaNoWriMo while contributing to your region’s word count. I considered participating last year, but my life had just gone to hell in a handbasket and I wasn’t fit to make my own bed, let alone an entire writing project.
This year, I’m considering going the NaNo Rebels route more seriously. I certainly have enough projects piling up around here that could use the motivation. But because the pile includes not only personal short story and interactive projects, but also the blog and my social media outlets, I’ve signed up for Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo), a digital writing program run out the University of Wisconsin. If you start seeing posts tagged #digiwrimo next month, you’ll know why. I may also look into National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), a long-running program that used to run only in November, but has now been expanded by BlogHer to a year-round program that focuses on themes.
So, there are a number of options. If you’re so inclined, you should jump in on whichever suits your writing needs. If your form is not present, it might be covered in another month. (Poetry challenges, for example, are often undertaken during National Poetry Month in April.)
I will also throw out this one, just because it’s been around for a while and I think it’s completely insane and kind of cool for those so inclined. There is a National Solo Album Month (NaSoAlMo), for those who want to commiserate with their writing buddies, but prefer to do their talking through music. As the name suggests, it is writing and recording an album in a single month…that has the Thanksgiving holdiays tucked into it. No pressure. Heh.
At any rate, there’s a little something for a number of writers. Just search out your tribe and have fun.