NaNoWriMo is my frenemy. I both love and dread National Novel Writing Month, the annual event devoted to writing a novel (50,000 words) in a month.
A quote attributed to playwright Michael Kanin claims, “I don’t like to write, but I love to have written.” I disagree. The process of creating a story can be painfully difficult, but it is a challenge I welcome.
The journey from idea to completed story is like a road trip in a vehicle of dubious reliability. There will be breakdowns. You will blow out tires and run out of gas. Storms make the route slick and dangerous. Maps, GPS, and directions from the roadside fruit stand will fail you. You might complete the journey on foot. Or crawling on hands and knees. Maybe you won’t finish the trip you began, but will find a new, unexpected destination. If you’re fortunate, you’ll race across the finish line in triumph.
Another famous writing quote, this one from Virginia Woolf, sums up why I keep coming back to NaNoWriMo. “A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”
Ignore the bit about having money. NaNoWriMo is free. What’s important is that NaNoWriMo gives writers, men as well as women, that mental room of their own. Participating in a global event gave me the permission I couldn’t give myself to devote every spare moment for an entire month to writing fiction.
By the end of this November, I will most probably have caffeine induced heart palpitations as I drink way too much coffee trying to steal a few more minutes from the day. I’ll have alienated my friends and family with my antisocial behavior and single-minded focus on my story, hoping they remember this madness lasts only thirty days. And I’ll be in possession of a steaming pile of… words. A story that requires brutal editing before it can see the light of day. A novel draft produced in a month instead of a year or more. I’ll be as physically drained as I was after running a marathon. My brain will be mush.
And I will love every minute of it.
Do you harbor the secret desire to be a novelist? Want to write your memoirs but haven't had time? Need an excuse to finish that story you started years ago? Sign up now for NaNoWriMo! http://nanowrimo.org/ http://nanowrimo.org/
(If you want to be my buddy, my NaNo name is Granny_Queequeg.)
10/13/2013 08:34:51 am
Catherine, I love the road trip analogy--especially the part about the unreliable car. That's my story in a nutshell! Good luck in November.
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