It’s NaNoWriMo time again! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. Basically, you sign up on the website and commit to writing 50,000 words (essentially, a complete novel) during the month of November. It’s intense. If you finish it, you “win” NaNoWriMo.
NaNo isn’t actually a competition, in the traditional sense. It’s a competition with yourself, really. There are no prizes, and your book doesn’t automatically get published at the end. No one is judging your work (well, I suppose YOU are judging your work, and anyone you show it to, but there are no JUDGES in any official capacity).
It’s meant for those of us who want to write a book. Those of us with dreams of being authors, published or not. Those people with that niggling feeling in the back of their brains, that feeling that you have a story that just needs to get out. It’s a challenge to commit to just doing the dang thing. Write that gosh darn book just so you can say you did! Even if at the end of November you shove the thing into a forgotten corner of your hard drive and never look at it again. At least you know you have the capacity to DO it.
I’ve attempted NaNo oh, I think three times? I’ve finished it once. It is hard, man. And I ended up hating my finished product. Okay, it wasn’t even finished. I wrote 50k words and it wasn’t even a complete book. It was really just 50k words strung together into sentences. I liked the premise, and I still do, but I wasn’t ready to write that story. I may never be ready to write that story. It may actually be a complete dud and I’ll never go back to it again. But not every attempt is going to be a success.
I’ve committed to NaNoWriMo again this year, and I am super excited. Originally I was going to go with an idea I’ve had percolating in my mind for a little while now. The vague idea of it sounded good to me, but I couldn’t make any real details stick. When I tried to come up with a solid plot my chest would constrict and my eye would start to twitch. Nope, that idea is definitely not ready to be born yet.
So last night, three days before this thing is going to start, I changed my course. I’ve decided to go with an idea I’ve had for YEARS. I mean a seriously long time. I actually wrote the first iteration of this story when I was about 12. And it’s been with me ever since, because I think the idea is good and I know I can totally blow the version my 12-year-old self wrote out of the water (no offense, 12-year-old me). It’s been adamantly knocking around in my head for a few months, just begging to be written, but I’ve been squashing it down. I don’t know why. I’ve kind of always thought this idea would be my pièce de résistance and I didn’t want to let it loose too soon. You know, before I felt I had the skillz to write it. But no sense waiting, I suppose. The time is now! Carpe diem! YOLO! So it’s happening.
Wish me luck.