Ten minutes ago, I was a boring 25 year-old watching baseball and contemplating my dinner plans for the evening. And then, with a few swipes of my keyboard, I had signed up for the National Novel Writing Month contest (also known as NaNoWriMo). Now I am a boring 25 year-old watching football (in the ten minutes it took me to sign up for NaNoWriMo the Braves loaded the bases with two outs and I thought I was going to keel over, which would end my chances of winning NaNoWriMo so I switched to the Titans/Cowboys game because I have no vested interest in it beyond Jason Witten, my fantasy football tightend…that was quite a long aside, you’re welcome) and contemplating my dinner plans for the evening.
If you don’t know anything about NaNoWriMo, crawl out from under your rock and join Twitter (it won’t bite, I promise). NaNoWriMo is an annual contest where authors attempt to write a complete novel with at least 50,000 words between November 1st and 30th. It’s not an easy task, but the beauty of it is that hundreds of thousands of people are all trying to do the same thing at the same time. The support and encouragement of others is an essential component of the process and what makes it all worth it when you finally cross the finish line.
I’ve been thinking about joining NaNoWriMo since I heard about it last year. My first novel, I’ll Be Home for Peacemas (shameless plug: Now available for purchase as an eBook on Smashwords and soon to be available in paperback and AUTOGRAPHED here on my website) was written in about six weeks from Oct. 5 – Nov. 15, 2008. Of course, at the time, I was unemployed and living at home with my parents so I had a considerable amount of time in which to write. I also had enough Mountain Dew in my system to power a small city.
This time around will be a little different. My thirty day window is wrapped around my full time job (35 hours a week trying to explain technology to people who think the world wide web was made by a robot spider), my part-time job/hobby (Duolit Self-Publishing), and what little bit of a social life I attempt to have.
My biggest asset in this endeavor is also my biggest threat: an 10 day vacation right in the middle of the month. It’s an asset because it means 10 days away from my job and other daily distractions. It’s a threat because I’ll be spending 8 of those days on the Carnival Miracle within a stone’s throw of copious amounts of food, booze and sunshine. Keeping my nose to the grindstone while sailing the seven seas with five of my best friends will be a major test of my will power (which is generally weaker than the University of Miami defense–*ahem*45-17*ahem*), but I’m willing to take it on.
The final tipping point in my decision to join NaNoWriMo was this: You really can’t lose this contest. Even if you don’t hit the 50,000 word mark, just writing half a novel or a third of a novel in 30 days is an accomplishment. Whether it’s something you continue or not, if you have a passion for writing like I do, you can NEVER write too much. The experience, the practice scripting words together into sentences and stories is something that you really should do each and every day.
So I’m jumping in headfirst. I have an idea for a novel I’ve been tossing around for some time now, and I’m trying to get my outline worked out before the contest starts (which is totally allowed). If you’re interested in participating along with me and a few hundred thousand of your closest writer friends, visit the NaNoWriMo website for more information.
Good luck and great writing to everyone!