November Challenges

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!

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About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in Living Deliciously, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to November Challenges

  1. Marianne says:

    I´ve never challenged myself to NaNoWriMo – maybe it´s just the push I need. I have two very different ideas for books drafted out in note form, but somehow never got around to expanding upon that.

    Another challenge for November for you could be to enter my CBBH Photo Challenge, by photographing something BLUE (and no, I don´t mean anything to do with your sizzling hot sex scene!). Thanks for the link BTW 😉

    • Ha! The sizzling hot sex scene will NEVER make it to this blog! But I think I’m going to take on the BLUE challenge today.

      You should check out NaNoWriMo – it’s such a great way to get the first draft on paper.

  2. I thought NaNoWriMo was just for blog posts. Writing a draft for a book is a great idea.

  3. susielindau says:

    Good luck to you! It is quite a challenge!

  4. 1667 words a day? I do at least triple that for every day that I’m on WordPress without even thinking about it! Which is why lots of what I write on WP READS like I’m not even thinking about it! Lol – But I know that this is not necessarily something for me to be proud of, since anyone who knows me, knows that my prolific verbosity can really get out of control! And this very comment here right now, has a strong possibility of demonstrating that fact! Lol

    But even I am not delusional enough to actually compare my random ramblings with the hard work and talent that it takes to write a novel, so my hat is off to you! Hmm… actually I wasn’t wearing a hat. Would you like me to go put on a hat, so I can write that line again while actually taking my hat off to you? Please let me know… There’s a Randy Newman song in which there’s a lyric that goes “You can leave your hat on…” but now that’s an entirely different situation, and as I think about it, it’s a situation that I wish I was in right now, only she’d be leaving her hat on, while I’d be so impressed that I’d be taking my hat off to her, assuming that I was wearing one… Lol

    Hey, I liked the way you motivated yourself to get in those 1667 words when they were hard to come by, before you went to bed. And the next sentence that comes to mind, is going to get edited out before I type it, because I do actually have some discretion as well as some common sense, but sometimes I forget where I put it. Unless she was… nope, that one’s not making it to the big screen either.

    Now I know that you may find this shocking, but I am finally ready to wrap up this comment, and all I want to add, is that I admire your effort to make the effort to do some serious writing, and maybe I should also actually try that some time, instead of doing this sort of thing. In my case, it’s a good thing that keystrokes are not a limited natural resource, because my market demand would have caused a commodities trading feeding frenzy for keystrokes and shot the price of a keystroke up so sky high that I could no longer afford to buy any keystrokes! The President of the United States would have no choice but to release a large volume of keystrokes from the National Strategic Keystroke Reserves to cool down the dangerously overheated keystroke market, in an effort to prevent an international keystroke financial crisis, but you know what?

    I don’t really want that to happen. So I’m going to stop typing now and start conserving keystrokes, because it’s just the right thing to do, and now more than ever. Don’t you agree? Lol 😀

  5. The Hook says:

    “And so instead, since I needed 1667 words before I went to bed, I wrote the hottest sex scene I was capable of. ”
    One question: how did you ever get to sleep after writing the hottest sex scene you were capable of?

  6. Seb says:

    How does one write to a quota and not feel like some kind of literary short order chef?

    • Good question. For me, the only way that I was ever going to produce a long text was to have some kind of externally imposed quotas and deadlines. If I were left to my own devices, I wouldn’t have written past the first page. I am critical about my own writing – and particularly about how self-involved my writing tends to be. Knowing this, I’m sure I would have abandoned the project early on.

  7. vb holmes says:

    My hat’s off to anyone who can average 1667 words a day for 30 days–a daunting challenge!

  8. Sweet Mother’s one of my favs. I’m doing NaNo, but actually using it just to get me at my computer for three hours a day…writing, edits, whatever. =)

  9. Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog for a little while today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as good as when I arrived. I’ll be back!

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