National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. Starting November 1st you have thirty days to write 50,000 words. That’s it. No excuses. Are you ready to dive in? I know you have something you’ve “been meaning to write” for forever and a day.
In 2012 I had a book (three actually) heavily outlined and ready to be written. Yet, I was waiting to write them for some reason. Did I think I didn’t have enough time to write? I had already spent hours researching things like the speed of the continental plates, medieval class structure, and had saved hundreds of photos of underground tunnels to my laptop, ‘for research purposes.’ Clearly I had no problem dedicating time to my book, but not to the actual writing of it. Then on November 1st, two of my friends, Mia and Jessica, independently told me about the NaNoWriMo challenge. Whether it was due to serendipity or due to peer pressure, I realized I couldn’t procrastinate anymore.
Over one hundred NaNoWriMo novels have been published since 2006 including Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants, which was made into the 2011 film of the same name starring Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz. After that first November, filled with many late nights and gallons of coffee, I certainly didn’t have a book ready to be published, much less sold the films rights. However, I had a first draft in my hands ready to be made into something great if I wanted. More importantly, I had gotten over my fear (and/or laziness) and made good on my commitment.
I participated in NaNoWriMo again in 2013, and I will be doing so again this November. In-between I am revising, editing and rewriting my first two novels and hope to see them published someday soon. I wouldn’t be this far along if this ‘competition’ hadn’t given me that initial boost. 50,000 words in a month is roughly 1700 words a day, or you can just bust on the weekends like I did last year. Not interested in writing a novel? I know friends who have written a short story anthology, a screenplay, an autobiography and even a graphic novel during the month of November. It’s so easy to make excuses for not starting projects either for fear of failure or fear of rejection, but when it’s two in the morning, you’re on that fifth cup of coffee and thirty-thousand words deep into your future bestseller, every bit of self-doubt and hesitation fades. You’re doing it and nothing can stop you.
National Novel Writing Month is one of many challenges hosted throughout the year. Other events include RPM Challenge (write and record an album in the month of February), InkTober (do an ink drawing every day for a month), and 13 Days 13 Shorts (make creative works based on Halloween-y themes in October) to name a few. These creative motivators are important because they dispel the myth that great art strikes like lightening. Great novels come one word at a time. There’s no reason you can’t get started. NaNoWriMo will give you the fire you need.