I Signed Up For NaNoWriMo

I’m a writer, I swear.

I have a book of original poetry, I worship Shakespeare, and I am very particular about what kinds of pens I use.

But I have never completed the phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For the uninitiated, writers sign up for the month of November to write their novels (that’s 50,000 words). When the month is finished, the writer submits his or her book idea in a competition, and a winner is chosen. For the non-math people like me, that’s about 1,500 words a day. Unfortunately, the only experience I have had with the organization is when my writer-friends were having mental breakdowns because they were unable to reach their self-imposed goal or were frustrated because people were lying about their word counts or were crying because they had killed off their favorite character.

Enter me, into this chaos.

I mean, I can barely write 500 words Mon-Thurs for this blog! Really, I’m complaining to all of you right now because I couldn’t think of anything else to write!  I’m literally writing about writing, and I can’t find much to say…

But when my really lovely friend Maeve suggested that we did this together, I had to say yes. First of all, we would be doing it together. So, we can encourage each other, and help one another if we get stuck on a plot point. Secondly, even though I have had a novel idea (get it!?) for years now, for much of my adulthood, I have not made a serious attempt to pursue it. Whenever I daydream, my head drifts toward my novel, but I have never tried to write more than one chapter. The question is: am I ready for this?

The answer: It doesn’t matter. Because the majority of my blog posts are something to the effect of: “follow your dreams/don’t be afraid of rejection/be who you are.” And, well, it is time I took my own advice, my own medicine. I need to make an honest attempt at pursuing my dream. And if I fail, at least I can say that I tried. At least I can say that I made an effort. At least I can say I have stopped living inside of my head.

Of course, this blog comes first. Always. So, if I have to stop writing my novel to update this blog, then so be it. Just promise me you’ll keep on coming back, and I’ll be here to feed your head.

So, goodbye October. Hello, novel.

I Salute You, NanoWrimers

I don’t know how you do it, budding novelists of the world, but somehow, every November, you do. You write until the keys pop off your computer, and you torture yourself with any number of devices that will help you to keep your focus. A friend of mine was swept up last year by National Novel Writing Month and eagerly showed me her methods. “This website turns red when you haven’t been typing for awhile, and if it gets to be too long without you producing something new, it deletes your progress.” Trying to find the right word again after its been deleted by a machine feels a bit like a fresh hell to me. But every night she dug deep and met her goal without too much of her work erased.

For those of you unfamiliar with what I’m even talking about, we are deep in the throes of National Novel Writing Month. As I understand it, although I have never tried it myself, a participant completes 50,000 words by the end of November, thus creating a short novel. You can break it up into sections or, for you procrastinators, you can write the full 50k in one shot. There is no prize at the end; simply self-satisfaction, and a couple of new friends who have slaved alongside of you.

Thus, I will take a moment of my time to salute those who are able to complete this monumental task, or even start it. I will also congratulate you on the fact that you are almost at the middle of the month, and therefore, possibly in the middle of your respective work.

I can only imagine that you are only taking a few minutes out of your strict schedule to read this blog. Eating and going to the bathroom can wait.

If you are at all a follower of this blog, you’ll know that writing about 500 words a night for me is not even feasible, so 50,000 is quite unfathomable.

So, be kind to those word warriors. I have no doubt they are out there, living among you, tired and red-eyed from staying up the night before to really “flesh out that foil character.” And when they ask you to listen to a section of their masterpiece, sigh and giggle at the appropriate moments, for that is their blood and tears on a page. And when November is over, tell them to keep going. Keep editing, keep imagining, and keep writing.

After all, as I once heard: “Writing when you are inspired will make you a great poet, but it will never make you a novelist.”

Write on!