The Usual Response

Last night I told someone about NaNo, and I was reminded that there are a couple of immediate responses from people when they hear about this 50,000 words in 30 days concept.

The first is “How many pages is 50,000 words?”  It seems that people can’t quite comprehend the number of words without some sort of reference or comparison to something more familiar.  If you get this question, I find that “it’s ends up being about 100 single-spaced pages in a Word document” seems to work well.  It’s also between 150 and 200 pages in a paperback.  I tend to prefer the Word document comparison because it helps people think of writing it themselves, rather than reading it.

The other question I hear a lot is some variation on the “What keeps people from cheating/” question.  This could be “What if someone just writes gibberish?” or “What’s to keep you from writing it in advance?” or something similar.  This comes from the competition aspect of the challenge.  While NaNo has a few things in place when they verify to make sure that you weren’t lying about your word count and that you didn’t just write the same word 50,000 times, it works primarily on an honor system.  Since there aren’t really substantial rewards for completing the process, it doesn’t bother me that others can cheat.  Like most authors, I’m simply using the competition as a motivator to write a book.  I’ll stick to the rules, even if no one else does!

What questions do you hear a lot when people find out you’re participating in NaNoWriMo?  Or, if you’re not an author, what other questions do you have?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Julie
    Oct 13, 2012 @ 12:31:21

    The most common I get is about time. Most people I know ask how I have time to write that much in 30 days. I end up pointing out to them that writing is my life pretty much, and that I make time for it, because it’s so important to me. I never bother to tell them that I’m routinely well over 50k by the end of 30 days or novel finished, whichever comes first. 🙂


    • Leigh Townsend
      Oct 14, 2012 @ 19:39:29

      A great answer! It’s interesting, I don’t really get that question from people. Perhaps it’s because I start the conversation by explaining that I won’t really be available in November?
      Good luck with your NaNo novel this year!


      • Julie
        Oct 14, 2012 @ 19:46:29

        Lol, I suppose that’s one way of avoiding that question. The thing is that I do my own NaNo every time I write a draft, which happens more than once a year. That makes it harder to tell people I won’t be available for a month. 🙂

      • Leigh Townsend
        Oct 14, 2012 @ 19:56:39

        That’s an interesting technique, and definitely solves the problem of maintaining motivation. But it does impact how you answer the question!

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