A year ago today, I took the leap and began the NaNoWriMo writing challenge. For those of you who haven’t heard, November is National Novel Writing Month. All over the world – for this is really an international event – people have committed to writing 50,000 words in November. That’s 1667 words a day.
Last year, I hesitated until the night before the challenge started, and then, as though possessed, I hit “sign up.” Then I panicked. How on earth was I going to find time to write a novel in 30 days? Where would I find time to write, between working full time and raising three boys? It seemed crazy.
But it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Imagine how good it must feel to complete a marathon. That’s about what it feels like to complete NaNoWriMo. And you’re just as exhausted at the end. Though not quite so fit. And instead of shin splints, you’ve got a bit of carpal tunnel going on. Okay, maybe the marathon analogy isn’t the best choice here. But the point is, if you long to write a book, NaNoWriMo is a great way to make it happen.
The beauty of NaNo is that there is no time for editing, and no time to second guess yourself. You just have to write straight through the days where it hurts to write and your brain is slow and you’re convinced that every word you’ve produced is pure crap. It doesn’t matter. You just keep writing. I hit a wall one day, and knew I just couldn’t write about the next thing I needed to write about. And so instead, since I needed 1667 words before I went to bed, I wrote the hottest sex scene I was capable of. It worked. I made my quota, and by the next day I was ready to get back to the main storyline.
When I look at my rushed, first draft manuscript, produced in 30 days, I’m surprised that it’s actually not bad. It’s definitely a first draft, but it’s a start. And when I remember how good it felt to complete the challenge, I feel great!
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year, but I’m following a number of bloggers who are. So here’s a shout out for the NaNo-bloggers at Sweet Mother, King Midget’s Ramblings and Cristian Mihai. I’ll be cheering for you from the sidelines!
November 1st also marks the beginning of Movember when Mo-bros and Mo-Sistas raise awareness and funds for men’s health, and prostate cancer in particular. The Movember icon is the moustache, but for those of us with mercifully little facial hair, there are other ways to participate. In memory of my dad, who died of prostate cancer four years ago, I’ll be blogging for Movember throughout the month. Visit Le Clown if you’re interested in getting involved.
And finally, November 1st is the Day of the Dead in some parts of the world. Have a peak at Marianne’s gorgeous photos documenting Spanish Day of the Dead celebrations over at East of Malaga.
Happy November 1st everybody!