It’s that time of year again and I’m not talking Turkey. NaNoWriMo, or lengthened, National Novel Writing Month. For participants, the month of October is too plan, outline, and bite your nails to bloody stumps. Then comes November 1, the start of 30 days of hell and heaven for those of us who choose to participate. 50,ooo words, the insurmountable mountain at which we begin to climb. During the trek, we worry about word counts, plot, characters. We look back at the first ten-thousand words and verbally abuse our lack of perfection. The 40,000 more words wait.
So, we turn back to the keyboard and continue pounding out a general story that is to become a first draft.
The hardest part is remembering that is is just that…A first draft. A rough script that will change and grow in the future months of revisions. Perfection is not the point.
What is the point, one might ask? Why submit oneself to torture during the month “normal” citizens of the world consider carefree as they settle in for football and turkey? I guess it depends on the writer, my reasons are as follows.
1. I love the rush of a challenge. Especially when challenging my will power to stick it through. Anyone who knows me will agree that my will power has deep weaknesses.
2. The camaraderie. Writing used to be isolating as we holed ourselves up in dark corners or attics scribbling ideas on sheets of paper that might never be seen by another living eye. Not just in Emily Dickenson’s time, but as recent as ten years ago, when I started writing. Groups on the internet were sketchy and I had many invitations to visit “another writer” in a foreign city. NaNoWriMo, as well as many other writing communities, are a reminder that we are not alone with this often maddening disease.
On the other hand, it reminds us that we are not alone in this world. Thousands of other writers arr vying for the same success of which you dream. Thank you, fellow writers, for making me step up my game and I wish you the best of luck.
3. I’ve been working my current novel through my head for around two years now. It’s still not written. I am forever a procrastinator. Not because I don’t want to write it, but rather the perfection I spoke of before. I want it to be right. I want the story in my head to hit the page just as I imagine it and no less. But, as Ray Bradbury said,
“Sometimes you just have to jump out the window and grow wings on the way down.”