Why I’m Participating in NaNoWriMo . . . Are You?

In Discussion by Erin L. Cox

By Erin Cox

In today’s lead story, author Drew Smith talks about the tools he used to help keep him motivated while rewriting his first novel. This month, these tools might come in handy to a lot of people . . . including me.

I’m a literary agent. I spend most evenings and weekends reading piles (okay, Kindle files) of manuscripts from budding novelists who are hoping that their story is good enough to stand out among the tens of thousands of novels published in the United States each year.

I’ll be honest; many of them don’t stand out. Okay, most of them don’t stand out. And, some are so dreadful you wonder if the writer has ever read a book. But, I am ever hopeful that each manuscript is going to be the next best thing, that elusive Great American Novel.

So, when I spend so much time reading novels that have no potential for success and the market for fiction is tougher than ever, you might ask why I decide to join in on National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and add my own potentially horrible novel to the pile?

As I write this, I wonder that myself. A few reasons come to mind:

THREATS: I have been threatening to write a novel for close to 15 years and, frankly, my family and friends are tired of hearing me talk about it. So, why the hell not now?

PRESSURE: I always feel like I work well under pressure. And, sure, I’m busier than I’ve ever been and certainly don’t need anything else to do, but why not ratchet up the tension and lack of sleep? It’s only a month.

HOPE: I like to think of myself as still being young and idealistic. I’m not really young but idealistic is true enough. So, why not follow that nearly-forgotten dream of being a glamorous novelist . . . oh wait, is being a novelist that glamorous?

A LOW BAR: When NaNoWriMo sets up the project in this way, “Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing.,” how can I say no? They want me to write crap . . . so I will. And, only I have to know how terrible it is.

So, join me and thousands of other people to bang out those novels and see if you really have the chops to be a published writer. You can email me 50 pages of your manuscript on December 1st and I’ll tell you what I think . . .

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Erin L. Cox

Erin L. Cox has worked as Business Development Director for Publishing Perspectives. She is a Senior Associate at Rob Weisbach Creative Management, where she represents writers and handles publicity and advertising clients.