It’s NANO Time!

No, that’s not some high-tech innovation or trendy music group. It’s National Novel Writing Month.

It’s a way of creating “someday,” as in “someday, I’m going to write a book.” Participants sign up and commit to writing a first draft of a novel during November. How long a novel? 50,000 words. That’s 1,667 words a day. But Steven King says he does 2,000 a day, every day, so we’re getting off easy. The first NANOWRIMO (Nan- Oh- WRY-Moe) was in 1999 with 21 participants. There were over 200,000 in 2010, writing an estimated 2.8 Billion words. (You wanted to know that. Admit it.)

There’s a whole community planning, advising, encouraging, and challenging each other. While it’s called a “contest,” the only prize is completing the challenge. Local groups gather for write-ins at libraries and coffee shops. There are on-line chat rooms, forums, and podcasts. In the drive towards the starting date, folks have been talking about readying their work places — laying in supplies of coffee, chocolate, and sharpened pencils, and installing new software to help keep track of plots, characters, and word count.

I’m game to give this a try. Kickoff is Sunday, so while the rest of the world is agonizing over football, I’m going to be clicking away at my keyboard. If you want to join in the fun, visit