Am I a sucker?
A glutton for punishment?
Someone with too much time on their hands?
Probably yes to all except the last one.
But that’s not why I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo (and which I personally call ‘NaNu NaNu’. I’m sure I’m not the only one).
Last year was my first in the trenches.
And I hated it. Hated it with a capital H. Hell, I’d use all caps if it wouldn’t make it seem like I was screaming at you.
I know how to write a novel. Not to belittle the accomplishment, but I’ve done it more than a few times. I already know I can finish what I start.
So why NaNoWriMo?
I’ve read those pretentious posts–and if you’re a writer and at all interested in this kind of thing, I’m sure you have too. You know, the ones that suggest that National Novel Writing Month is just for beginners, for people who “don’t know how” to write a book.
Bullshit, I say.
I’m sure it’s helpful for beginners too, but they’re not the only ones who can take something positive away from the experience.
Writing 1667 words per day doesn’t seem like much, and if you want to write for a living, it probably shouldn’t seem like much.
But I don’t normally write during the weekends. And if something really amazing comes up, I rarely turn it down in order to write. Sometimes I’m tired. Sometimes I have headaches. Sometimes I have way too much journalism work to do.
That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo. For this one shining month, there are no excuses. You must write, even if you don’t feel like it. Even if life intrudes. You just tell life to back the hell up so you can get your words in.
It’s torture, yes, but there’s also something freeing about it.
I had about a week left of NaNoWriMo last year when a dear friend took his own life. The last thing I wanted to do was write. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry, and sometimes I did.
But the looming deadline forced me to press on. My friend’s death was devastating, but I told myself I did not need to feel like a failure on top of everything else I was going through.
So I finished. I wrote the 50,000 required words. I wasn’t finished my novel, but it didn’t take me too long to write the last 10,000 words–a decent length for a young adult thriller.
When I read it over, I was surprised. It was good. It wasn’t the piece of crap all those snobby NaNu NaNu articles had led me to believe. Even my editor liked it, and trust me–he’s picky.
I’m a writer. I write a lot. But I can’t look back at any other month in the past year and say, “I wrote a novel that month.”
Which is why I’m taking the plunge once more.
The end justifies the means.
Do you participate in NaNoWriMo, or is there another challenge you take part in or train for? What are the value of these types of challenges for you? Of course, if you hate them, feel free to say that too!
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s purpose is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Thanks for reading!