The countdown is within the final hour. We sit antsy at our desks, waiting for the clock to strike midnight. Your leg taps in time with the blinking cursor on your screen. That blank page won’t be blank for long.
National Novel Writing Month is here and while some people might still be unsure about their writing goals, many have already declared their novels on the NaNoWriMo site and are ready to go. Some of them have been working hard even before November, using October — Prep-tober — to get their research, outline, and snacks prepared for the month-long adventure of novel writing.
It’s a breeze for some and it’s a grueling process for others. That daily 1,667 goal is sometimes overshadowed by the looming 50,000 total words that we seem to make no progress toward no matter how long we type on our computers. Word count progress bars intimidate others as freakish, non-human writers complete double, triple, and more words than conceivably possible if you actually started with a blank document.
People gather up their badges by writing daily, writing when they shouldn’t be writing, or bringing themselves to tears. Did your writing really make you cry on the first day of NaNo, Carol? Or are you crying because you realized writing a novel in 30 days is nuts?
It’s times like these we all need to sit back and remember why we started writing in the first place. We do it because we have a story in us, one that is so unique that no one else can tell it. All of us have different experiences, different mental frameworks, that make our stories special. Writers’ stories are dying to get out of the confines of a mind and we are the only ones who can do it.
Most of all, writing is supposed to be fun. No, not every part of it is going to be great. When you reach word 20,000 and you just can’t seem to figure out how to get from point A to B, it gets frustrating. It’s exhausting to see a scene continue to fail no matter how many times you try to fix it. The act of writing is hard.
But we still love it.
We still come back to that page. We still write in other areas of our lives. We still declare to write a novel in 30 days.
NaNoWriMo gets writers excited to complete a novel, and it’s a great motivator to do so — every writer needs a deadline. You have a community of support that joins together during the month to encourage and take the journey with you (and every month, but amplified during November). But in the end, with every up and down, win and defeat, we should be having fun.
I’m competitive to no end — a famous quote from my old basketball coach is “If you want to play Monopoly with Laura, wear a mouthguard” — and if you put a competition on a writing project, you better believe I’m going to find a way to win. But I would never do it if I didn’t enjoy the process… every bit of it.
So here’s to a fun National Novel Writing Month. May we all enjoy our crazy project and write words, win or lose.
Stay up to date on my NaNo happenings and other writing fun with my newsletter. I like to give sneak peeks into my writing and provide different thought processes and value for writing and life.