For someone whose sole experience with the written word is a high school essay, the proposition of 50,000 words in 30 days is beyond daunting – it’s downright dreadful. It’s something akin to telling someone they have to fill a five-gallon jug with urine in an afternoon, when they’re used to filling half a cup once a year. Hmm, that may be a wee bit extreme. Okay, maybe it’s not that drastic, but still, numbers like that are certainly ominous, even for the amateur typist.
But, the experience of participating in National Novel Writing Month is actually quite enjoyable. NaNoWriMo (pronounced Na-no-WRY-moe) for short, is a fabulous way to annihilate all of the mental obstructions that are keeping you from writing and jump. For the entirety of November, this global non-profit word race has writers of all levels on the edges of their seats furiously bludgeoning the innocent blank pages of their word processor with 50,000 words.
The rules are pretty straightforward – You begin tapping the keys at 1201 a.m. on November 1st and don’t stop until 1200 a.m. December 1st with a finish line reading I’VE WRITTEN A NOVEL! awaiting you at the end.
Q: So, I’m sure I have to have the whole thing in my head way beforehand, right?
A: Not at all.
In fact the entire premise of NaNoWriMo is just to write. There are people out there that write completely nonsensical bull$h%& out there, but that’s the whole idea! It’s not a competition to see who can write the next literary masterpiece or Nobel Literary gem – the idea is to write 50,000 words. That is, just write! You’re not allowed to begin until the minute the clock strikes 1201 on November 1st. You are, however, allowed (should you be so inclined) to write as much backstory, research, outlines, world-building (etc) as you wish; you just can’t begin the tale until the figurative gun releases you from the starting blocks.
Well? What do you think? Pretty crazy, huh? It involves copious crates of creativity, coffee by the cart, and a not-so-common neurological nitrous oxide that will sear the synopses of your writing soul. But perhaps the finest aspect of it all is that you are NOT alone! Once you sign up for NaNoWriMo, you join an entire global community of writers that have bravely decided to gather the reigns and man the stagecoach of a line of fast blind steeds, having know idea what they’re getting themselves into. You’ll receive weekly e-mails of encouragement, motivation and inspiration from the organizers of NaNoWriMo. You can join personalized online communities within the NaNo circus and (depending on where you are situated geographically) you can meet up with other NaNo Writers in your area for local NaNo get-togethers called ‘Write-Ins’ in which you have snacks, meet people, make friends, and right away, you’ll be writing away.
So, have I convinced you yet? Have you even read this far? 🙂 There is no price for first place. Everyone who participates in NaNoWriMo is a winner by nature of the ballsy decision they’ve made. There will be some days that you cannot be taken away from the computer and other days when you can’t get to it. Some people, even with one week to go, are still on 10,000 words and cannot move forward. That’s all right! ‘Give it some gas!’ as they would tell you in Chinese! The point is that you keep moving forward and don’t give up! The point is that you make it happen – not for your family, your friends, your favorite author, your school, or for anyone else. It’s that you make it happen for you!
I will be participating this year in NaNoWriMo with a good friend of mine. He’s even got an outline and all kinds of preparation already in his project. And me? No idea what I’m going to write. But it doesn’t matter. I don’t have to think of anything until I start. The only requirement is that I do it. Nike’s logo has never failed – stop thinking of all the ‘why’s, stop making excuses, stop telling us why you cannot do what you’ve told us you would like to do, stop giving into distractions and temptations, stop making phone calls, playing video games, eating to waste time, going shopping, talking on the phone, stop masturbating, cleaning your house, taking your dogs for walks, bickering with your husband/wife, stop reading trashy magazines, watching t.v., all of it – just stop.
Stop reading this and write. Sign up for NaNoWriMo 2011 (www.nanowrimo.org)
NaNoWriMo Username: lpstribling