I’ve been writing since I was able to hold a pencil. My brain sizzles with ideas and bubbles with story lines. And then I sit down at the computer. It’s like turning off a faucet. The pencil was so much more productive, a direct connect to my brain. This lapse in creativity at the computer isn’t permanent, and the ideas will begin to flow again, but will the flow end up in one bucket or flood all over the place? I think at this point I don’t care, I’m just happy with the flow wherever it goes. For me writing is fun. At one time it was important that I be paid, and that’s nice when it happens, but the reason I write has little to do with a burgeoning bank account, which is fortunate. I’ve never made much with this gift God have me, but I continue to be enriched by it in other ways.
What does this have to do with NaNoWriMo? November is National Novel Writing Month. The website sets the stage for writing a novel in 30 days, yes, 30 days. I’ve made a smattering of attempts to do this over the years, with little success. I was easily distracted or felt intimidated by sitting down in front of the computer and knocking out 1500 to 2000 words a day to reach the 50,000 word goal. The expectation is that at the end of the month you will have the bones of a good story, which you can turn into a finished novel.
This year I am all in. I’ve already written more than 30,000 words and expect to finish ahead of schedule. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll be working on it until the last day. Regardless, I will complete the challenge, and then complete the book.
So, why NaNoWriMo? This isn’t something that happens in November and then goes away. Like a cyber muse it enters your life throughout the year reminding you to let go of your inner editor and just write. It has programs for young writers. It provides stimulus when everything else seems destined to divert you from the discipline of sitting your butt in the chair and just getting with it.
I’m half-way through the challenge, but I’m going to give a little advice on why it’s important to sign up and participate. It’s more than what you do right now, it’s how you embrace the concept and apply its strategies day after day.
- NaNoWriMo flat out tells you to write. Period. Don’t self-edit, don’t second think, don’t curb the creative flow. Write.
- Set goals. If you say, “I’m going to write today,” with no goal in mind, it’s easy to get distracted by just about anything you can think of, including, “I just don’t feel like writing.” Make yourself do it or you will never get anywhere.
- During November you will get pep talks and support. It does help, believe me. There is other inspiring encouragement throughout the year.
- The forum offers all kind of help, some you didn’t even know you needed. World building, character building, writing helps and more.
- It is a free site. Really, absolutely free. A wealth of help and inspiration for free. I can tell you that maintaining NaNoWriMo isn’t free to the people who are doing it. Buy their stuff and donate. Help keep this fabulous thing going.
NaNoWriMo has gotten me off my procrastination pedestal and it can help you too. Sign up, even at this late date. It’s possible you can get well into your next writing project and have the satisfaction of supporting an awesome writing site.
A disclaimer here, other than participating in NaNoWriMo, I have no connection with the site builders and promoters. I just like it and want to let fellow writers know it’s there, available, and a great help.