With One Month to Pen a Novel, a Faster Piece Is Better Than a Masterpiece
By Libby Copeland Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 13, 2004; Page C01
Genius is overrated. Art ultimately comes down to discipline, to the doers and the do-nots -- the fevered few who prime their canvases and practice their chords and the rest of us who come home from work tired and fall asleep watching "Desperate Housewives."
If, as some people believe, every single person has a novel inside himself, then a lot of people have been wasting a lot of time doing a lot of things other than writing. Chris Baty, a freelance writer from Oakland, Calif., with novelist aspirations, devotes the month of November every year to helping people get those novels out. He approaches the writing process like a crash diet; his goal is to get people each to write 50,000 words in 30 days. The results may be shockingly bad, and will in all likelihood never be published, but that's not really the point, Baty says.
Participants in National Novel Writing Month swarm Books-A-Million in Dupont Circle. The project challenges writers to crank out 50,000 words in 30 days.