In Praise of NaNoWriMo


National Novel Writing Month screeched to a halt at midnight last night, and, pencils down, everyone! Last year, 119,301 people declared that they would write a novel in November. In total, those people wrote 1,643,343,993 words. (That’s, on average, almost 14,000 words each.) They’re still counting up the numbers for this year, but participation (and success) looks blockbuster. NaNoWriMo is among America’s best institutions, like up there with the League of Women Voters and Crazy Ladies Who Feed Stray Cats, because it teaches thousands of people that there is nothing that is beyond them. I took part in, um, like 2002 or something, and what I learned was that there is no magic trick to book writing! Any jackass can do it. (Insert mean list of authors here that supports that contention.) The trick is just putting words on top of each other. Like Jenga, but in Microsoft Word! The only other trick is that some of those words can be deleted later. So hooray for everyone. You are awesome.