“National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.” – NaNoWriMo
A lot of writers and aspiring writers ask themselves one important question every year about now: “Am I going to commit to writing 50,000 words in November?”
According to the organization’s website, 306,230 said “yes” in 2017. The organization has grown since 1999 and runs multiple programs year-round. It’s larger and more influential than most of us know. Explore its website and you’ll find that there’s a lot more going on there than writing 50,000 words in November.
Yet, 50,000 words is how it began and making the commitment November 1 after all the Hallowe’en candy as worn off isn’t easy to do even though the decision is often made on a dare or during a transcendent moment of infallibility without realizing what it means to say “yes.”
I’ve been writing for a long time. Sitting here on my PC are the first two chapters of a novel that I havent touched for the last forty days and forty nights. Will NaNoWriMo help me get it moving again? It helped me finish a prior novel, though I won’t tell you which one.
Of course, one has to sign up with the organization to make it official and then tell everyone you did it. That alone makes the yes/no decision about as daunting as telling everyone on the first day of the month that by the end of the month you will have stopped smoking, given up booze, or completed a rehab program for hard drugs.
I can look at the entire process as a positive kick in the pants or as writing under the bright spotlight of a lot of peer pressure. So, if were to take the plunge this year–don’t quote me on this because I’m not saying I going to do it–maybe it’s better to do it unofficially and quietly so that if things go wrong, nobody will know. That’s how I finally stopped smoking. I didn’t tell anyone that on day X I was going to be making my one-hundredth attempt. I just stopped. After a while, people began to notice. By the time they did, I had several weeks under my belt without the pressure that I had the strength to continue.
I could do that with NaNoWriMo. Yes, I know. If I don’t tell anyone that I’m trying it out again, nobody will be around to say, “Well, Ace, so you only wrote 2,000 words by the end of the month, then?” At least everyone on Facebook won’t know. Of course, I’ll know. That’s the real problem, isn’t it?
But you, if you’re feeling brave this year, can fire off rockets, chart your word count on a daily blog, and shout to everyone who knows you on December 1, “I did it.”
Are you game?