My First NaNo


I know that it’s been a few weeks, but since I finished, I basically just needed a place to post these fricken NANOWRIMO banners that you see all over this page. It’s not that I needed anything for the completion, really. I’m just happy to have completed.
For those of you that aren’t sure what it is, allow me to pass along this brief introduction. November is (to those who know about it) National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words somewhere between 12:01 a.m. on November 1st and 11:59 p.m. on November 30th. At first glance, that’s a pretty hefty number, but if you write regularly (or even if you don’t), it’s really not that bad. It averages out to an exact number of 1,667 words a day. You are welcome and encouraged to write more than that, of course, and the best part is that it’s one place that quality means nothing. Really, the goal is to just put words on paper. You can write about anything (ANYTHING) and as long as you get to the end, that’s all that matters.
Of course, the event is one that many writers know about and the idea is to write a novel. Yes, you could write one word 50,000 times, but you would know in your heart that you didn’t really try; you didn’t really challenge yourself. It would be sort of like paying the entrance fee for a marathon and then using a Segway and a smile to cross the finish line. It’s what many of my contemporaries would label ‘gay’ or ‘retarded’, but, don’t get me wrong – it can be you if that is your desire.
What to write about? Well, what do you want to write about? NaNoWriMo is really an event that challenges you to just write. When I started I had found that there were both those participating in the event that had done it many times before and those that were taking their first plunge into the event. You are allowed to have an outline of a novel in place before you begin at 12:01 a.m. on 11/1, but it is definitely not desideratum. I would say that the majority of the participants were using the same seat-of-the-pants method of creating their novel that I was. I had nothing but an idea to begin with. Oh, and another thing, you don’t have to finish your novel by the end of the month. You just have to get to the 50,000-word mark.
It is a non-profit event that has hosts and guest writers that send you e-mails of encouragement to help you get to where you want to go. It’s not at all a competition, either. There were those who had fingers like lightning and were aiming for 100,000 words and even one guy I knew of that was going for the 500,000 word level. No thanks. But hey, more power to him.
(sigh) Anyway, I’m done. Afterwards I have to be honest; I felt a pretty solid sense of accomplishment. Before beginning I had thought of the event as one of those things that I would eventually get to some day, but I found that all “those things” are really all about starting. Again (forgive the marathon simile), many people have placed the marathon on their list of “things I’ll do one day” and feel sated just in the fact that they have this list and that these items will one day be attained. Well, I found that the more you think about it sometimes, the more the object of desire may elude you. Sometimes you just have to stop telling yourself that it will be ‘some day’ and just jump in and go. Whether you make it or not isn’t the issue, but that you made the leap in the first place.

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