Late in October at one of the Halloween Readings that I organize, I listened as several fellow writers and friends discussed plans to partake in this year’s NaNoWriMo. Never heard of it? It’s like a month-long marathon for us writers. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Think of it as a writing spirit quest if you will. A writer commits to the challenge of writing 50,000 words in one month’s time, therefore writing an entire (or most of) one book. In order to accomplish this seemingly Herculean effort, a writer must write at least 1,667 words a day to finish on time.
However easy it might seem, there is something that we writers seem to excel in all the better: procrastination. It’s one of my top ten talents actually. I didn’t decide that I was going to join the scores of writers participating in NaNoWriMo until 9 days into the month. I should have had 15,0003 words written. Here we are now 19 days into the month and I still have less than 10,000 words. I’m supposed to be more than 1/2 way completed by now.
I know what you’re thinking. I should probably call it. The thing is though that I don’t want to. What ticks me off most about NaNo is that it seems to have become all about the word count and less about the act of actually sitting down and pounding out a story…a damn good one at that. It should be a challenge, don’t get me wrong. But it should be one that you feel good about. It should feel like you’re on holiday from your everyday life when you write. You write because it makes you feel good, it makes you feel whole. I’ve written more this month than I have in the last two alone! The idea of having a platform where you can connect with friends, encourage one another, and get lost in a world you’ve created is really as good as it gets.
So, fellow writers, I have some advice for you this month as you put your nose to the grindstone on your NaNo project. Don’t count your words. Don’t type nonsensical jargon, don’t think empty thoughts about what you’re putting down on paper just so you can say you wrote 50,000 words. Lose yourself in it. Be invigorated by it. It’s a celebration of your ability and your imagination.
Now. Write, damn it.