I think November is my new favorite month. I’ve always loved the fall, but ever since I discovered NaNoWriMo, November has gotten way more interesting. I toy with ideas all year long. It’s been a year since my last novel came out, and in that time I’ve done little more than play with those ideas. I have nothing concrete, no real work done since then. I have high hopes that I will get the short story compilation finished by the new year so that I can begin the editing process, but other than that, just ideas floating around. Fragments of stories barely begun and nowhere near finished.
I look to NaNoWriMo as a competition against myself. It’s the start of something new. A chance to get down to business, get the words on the paper, and in a month’s time, have something to show for it all. Sure, I could do this any month of the year on my own, after all, I’m supposed to be a writer. Writers are supposed to write. Regularly.
But there is just something special about the atmosphere of November and NaNo. It’s fun. There’s the great pep talks you get from other writers (a couple years ago when James Patterson suggested that the best way to write was to give your family water guns to shoot you with whenever you weren’t writing, my daughter thought that was a most excellent concept, and was quite disappointed that she was not equipped with a Super Soaker on November first in which to keep me in line), the support and encouragement from your fellow participants, and the knowledge that, when you are sitting at the computer late at night when the house is quiet, there are thousands of others, just like you, pecking away at their keyboards at that very same moment, in hopes of meeting their goals too. There are the sprints on Twitter that are my personal favorite, write ins with others writers in your area, and so much more. It’s like a big writing party and everyone is invited.
All the “virtual” excitement is pretty great for a hermit introvert like me. 😉
I know you can say the words NaNoWriMo and there is a huge, audible groan from the folks that hate it and get sick of hearing people talk about it. There are those that turn up their nose at the idea, because, after all, serious writers know you can’t write a book in a month. Well, sure you can. You can WRITE one in a month…everyone who is serious about that book they just wrote in a month also knows it is complete garbage as is, and will need many more months of work. The point is getting the words on paper.
Some of us don’t have the luxury of being full time writers. We take our writing time in whatever bits and snippets we can get. It doesn’t mean we are any less writers than our full time writer friends, it just means we have to be bit more creative about getting in the words. NaNo can be a great reason to push ourselves to keep our bottoms glued to the chair. There’s no great prize at the end, except being able to sit back and know you did it. You prove to yourself that despite the real world calling, despite the outside job, the laundry, the kids, the spouse, the shopping and the cleaning and everything in between, that, if we are serious about wanting to write, then we can fit in in. We can find the time, and we can be successful. We know the work lies in the re-writes, but it’s an awesome feeling to give in to that first draft with wild abandon, to silence the inner critic and editor and just write. For us, National Novel Writing Month is great fun – and if we are lucky we have a story to work with at the end. Something we can make great. Maybe we won’t. Maybe it will be complete drivel, but that’s okay too. Because we tried.
Some people hate it, some people love it. I had to bow out last year and I was really disappointed. I want to make it this year. This is the last few days of preparation. I’d like to say that my preparation includes detailed outlines and character sketches, but nope. Not my style. So I’m sitting here making a list of the chores that need to be completed this week, working on my to-do list. At least if the house starts out in order I won’t feel bad about neglecting it for a month.
I’ve got one fancy NaNoWriMo winner t-shirt…let’s see if I can get a new one this year!