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In which John reveals he will be attempting NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, a crazy adventure undertaken by many nerdfighters in which people try to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in a single month.


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A Bunny
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Good morning Hank, it's Sunday, November 1st, the first day of NaNoWriMo!

(intro sequence)

In case you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it's National Novel Writing Month, an annual event in which people try to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month.

But Hank, before I talk about NaNoWriMo, I think I need to discuss something that's been on all of our minds - my puff.
It's big.
Sarah pointed out the other day that the puff has gotten so big that it's kinda three puffs. It's like baby puff, baby puff, mommy puff. So I apologize if the puff distracts you.

So Hank, when we first started Brotherhood 2.0, back in 2007, when home ownership seemed like a good investment and YouTube was square, all these nerdfighters started asking me "Have you ever done NaNoWriMo?" And I was like, no, everybody knows it's impossible to write a good book in a month. Which, by the way, is true.

Wait, what about "On the Road"?

Yeah, contrary to popular legend, "On the Road" wasn't written in a month, it was written in seven years.

Okay, I was wrong about "On the Road", but what about --

No, there is no such thing as a good novel that gets written in a month, because --

Hold on pretentious McAsshat, let me finish my point. What about "Babysitters Club 43: Claudia's Sad Goodbye"?

Oh, that is a great book. Seriously.

But, it is the exception that proves the rule, and as a rule, no great book can be written in a month. That said, I've always really admired the nerdfighters who take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, and this year, I'm gonna join them.

There are two things that I really love about NaNoWriMo. One, whether you're writing for fun or as your job, writing requires discipline. And it requires a lot of discipline to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Secondly, I'm increasingly convinced that while no great book can be written in a month, no great book can be written in a first draft, no matter how long it takes you to write it.

Books are made in revision. For all three of my novels, I have deleted more than 90% of the first draft. And everything that people like about my books emerges in later drafts. Like Miles' obsession with the last words of famous people in Looking for Alaska, came out in revision. The crazy hunting through rural Tennessee for a feral hog in An Abundance of Katherines? Revision. All that stuff about cartography and the real meaning of Paper Towns? Revision.

Like, if you want to think about it like sculpture, writing a first draft is like digging the clay out of the ground, and revision is when you actually use the clay to like, build something that you like. I am a writer. I come up with metaphors for a living. Like that one.

See? That was a good example of first draft failure. Hank, let's edit that metaphor. Okay, if you want to make a chair, your first draft is cutting down the tree, and then revision is, this is why my books take three years to write.

What NaNoWriMo does for writers young and old, is give us permission to suck. So NaNoWriMo forces you to be disciplined, and it gives you permission to suck, which are two of the things you most need if you're going to be a novelist. The other thing you need is an adequate supply of snacks. I recommend Cub Scout popcorn.

So Hank, I am seriously gonna try to write 50,000 words of a story over the next month. I will be updating you on my progress every day at the Ning -- link in the sidebar -- and to my fellow nerdfighters who are joining me on the crazy NaNoWriMo adventure: there's a group about it at the Ning, and we also have an official discussion forum over at the NaNoWriMo website. And no, I am not going to share with you what I write over the course of November. If I'm lucky, it'll be good enough that I can spend the next 2 years revising it.

Okay, I should probably start writing, but Hank, you'll see me on Tuesday.