It’s that time of year again, when writers worldwide pledge themselves to the daunting task of committing 50,000 words to the page. The equivalent to writing a novel in a month. Yes, it’s NaNoWriMo!
Train, Baby, Train
Notice I said like a novel in a month. These 50,000 words rarely, in their entirety, end up on the shelves of your favourite bookstore. Instead, this month of madness is the artist equivalent of training for a marathon- we pledge to show up daily and practice our craft to become better writers. If a book is our marathon, NaNoWriMo is our boot-camp.
It is hard, this training. Where I live, November is a dark, rainy and coldish month. Many of us have to fit our daily word-counts into lives jam-packed with “must-do’s”, like family obligations and jobs. And then there is the mental cost.
It’s a Mental Game
I almost backed out this year. A week ago, blind-sided by a raging case of imposter syndrome, the enormity of this dream I have dedicated my life to making come true- a polished, published novel- made me want to quit, not just NaNoWriMo, but writing all together. Why go through all this hard work and mental anguish if I’m never going achieve this dream? Why not, instead as my writing group discussed the other day, take up more rewarding hobby like, say, knitting?
Because, I’m a writer. And writers gonna write, write, write…(my apologies to Taylor Swift)
The Joy is in the Doing
No, in all seriousness, the joy of conjuring a character from thin air, or making a reader cry because of the hell I have put said character through- to make a story and send it out into the world. These are thrills that can’t be created by knitting a scarf or a cup cozy (the only things I’ve ever been able to manage with my feeble knitting skills). Talking late into the night with my writing group or reading a novel and understanding how someone has created such magic; these are skills I have cultivated within myself in the years I’ve dedicated to being a writer. Writing brings me joy, and I don’t want to give it up.
Come on, You know you Want to!
So, I soldier on. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo because, if nothing else, the collegiality of being in the same boat with a load of other crazy writers who get me, and my struggle, on a level no others in my life can, is worth its weight in gold. I will not beat myself up if I don’t get to 50,000 words (shh.. this is top secret, but I there is a good chance I won’t because I’m a NaNo rebel- I’m revising a completed novel instead of starting one from scratch this year, as per the “rules”) but I will have a lot of fun doing it. Mostly.
Day one of NaNoWriMo 2018 was a win for me. I met my daily quota and attended an in-person write-in at my local library. Stay tuned for my progress reports.
If you’re keen to join in the madness, check out the NaNoWriMo website. It’s not too late to take a step towards your own dream.