The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things! Of shoes, of ships, of sealing wax – of cabbages and kings! …sorry, I’m not sure what happened there. Nevertheless, it’s time for Polyglot NaNoWriMo! This is something of a placeholder post because pretty much all of my writing energy for this month is going to be going on my NaNoWriMo project – but hopefully that’ll lead to some cool posts for the future. For those of you who haven’t heard of it and have somehow missed me talking about it off and on since about June, then I’ll go through the rules one more time!
NaNoWriMo is a writing initiative in which you are supposed to write 50,000 words (about 1,667 words per day) over the entire month of November, without editing. It’s intended as a way of beating writer’s block and over-editing, and the goal is to just get words down on the page. It doesn’t have to be fiction, it doesn’t even have to be prose – but for poetry it’s probably better to adjust the word count down and maybe do one poem every day (rather than counting words). Basically, if you come back to your project in December and start to edit it, and even if you lose half of it you’ve still got 25,000 words of decent writing that you didn’t have before.
So what’s Polyglot NaNoWriMo, I hear you cry? Well, this is a plurilingual tweak to the original concept, in which the word count is reduced to compensate for the extra effort of writing in a language other than your mother tongue. Write 200 words every day in another language, with as little editing as possible. And, as an added extra, make a list of all of the words you had to look up in a dictionary. That last part is optional, but it’s a really good learning tool for yourself and a fantastic way of learning new vocabulary.
Those are the basic rules, but you can tweak them more or less however you want. If you’re writing in a language like Chinese or Japanese, you could change it from a word count of 200 to a character count of 500 per day. It’s entirely up to you!
Last year, I think it was just me – but this year, quite a number of people are dusting off their quills and putting them to parchment. If you’d like to join in, follow along with our progress on Twitter in real time with the hashtag #PolyglotNaNoWriMo. As always, you can find me on Twitter and Instagram (@sprakskatan), and thank you for reading. I’ll check in again in December – hopefully I’ll have something more substantial to show for my efforts!