For those of you who may not know this, and I wasn’t aware of such an animal until this past September when a co-worker at the bookstore told me about it, November is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo.
This is a huge event in the writing world.
Wait, maybe the word huge doesn’t quite capture my meaning. Ahem, what I meant to say is, NaNoWriMo is an event of epic proportions.
Well, maybe the first sentence was better.
Anyway, for those who want to challenge themselves to complete at least a 50,000 word goal within 30 days and be held accountable, to utilize a word-count validating tool, to perhaps utilize the local group, website forums and support of other writers for inspiration and determination–NaNoWriMo is a great place to start.
I was skeptical at first. When I heard about this formal event I was just beginning to write my first novel, and I had much of it written before November 1st, when NaNoWriMo officially began counting down the days to reach that 50,000 word goal. So, I didn’t need to use the site and the event to further my writing or the completion of my book, did I? I mean, come on. I was already near the minimum goal before it ever started. Pffft.
Then, about three weeks ago, after I wrote a steamy scene between my protagonist and her love interest, I reached over 72,000 words. The scene slayed me, because…that was the hardest thing I have ever written in my life, and by God, my book is NOT a Romance Novel!
I hit a wall.
Yep, I stopped writing.
The hubris of being a somewhat reclusive, sort of talented, yet non-published and unknown writer bit me in the buttocks. My pride, which was rooted in fear, became my Achilles heel.
Never mind the clichés.
Every day I would get up, open the computer and open the file for my novel, and stare at the screen. I would close it, then open it again. I surfed the internet. I created this blog. I cleaned the house, watched movies about writers, then opened the computer again. The vapid wasteland of social media was seductive, especially when I had to consider returning to my novel and actually, well, you know, finish it.
I kept getting email updates from our local coach, and reminders to “keep up with those word counts!” However, “Nega Kim” (Yes, I also watched Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World,so now you realize the depths of my despair) kept whispering in my ear. “You cant’ do it. What if no one likes it?”
Today, I took the risk and posted the premise of my novel, made a cover photo, and validated the word count on the NaNoWriMo site. It was an extraordinarily difficult thing for me to do. My paranoia dreamed up horrid scenarios of someone stealing my story. (Actually, the site does not keep a copy of one’s story, so my fears were unfounded).
Despite the difficulty, I had to make myself accountable somehow. Now, with the word count entered on the site, and having won a fancy certificate I can print and hang on my wall, I have to finish my story and commit to the re-write process which starts on December 1st.
People from all walks of life, those who ascribe to all sorts of genre, who want to learn the discipline and skill of writing, time management, and do the hard work to get a book completed, can utilize this event. It is not restricted to fiction, or any particular kind of fiction. It’s a great motivator, if one just takes the risk, dives into the deep end, throws caution to the wind. (Yes, more clichéd writing, but hey, it’s my blog. I can use them all I want).
Okay, now you know about NaNoWriMo. You can visit their website here:
Now, I have to slay the demon of procrastination and write…my book.