Hi all. I’m going to be switching up today’s post a little bit and tell you why I thought NaNoWriMo was great for me.
For those of you who don’t know, every November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). The folks there do a wonderful job of inspiring writers to WRITE, to be regimented (or to frantically scramble) for a whole month. The goal is to pound out 50,000 words of a novel during the month which translates to about 1,667 words per day, if memory serves.
Many people find the camaraderie of being with thousands of other people, who are all engaged in writing endeavors as well, to be exhilarating. I for one was content to just have a goal to work toward and a faceless internet deity to be responsible to (because the NaNo Gods would have wreaked vengeance upon me if I hadn’t finished… also my own OCD).
As a little bit of back story, when I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo, I was enrolled in university, taking more than a full load of classes meaning that I had so many classes, I would not have been allowed to take another one, even if I would have masochistically wanted to. I was doing some serious research for a large research project I had, and trying to juggle the home time (with a pregnant wife), the upcoming holidays and my looming final examinations (with accompanying papers).
I was spread thin.
Enter more crises.
Mini Crisis 1: The Holidays- In the middle of my NaNoWriMo experience, there were the holidays. If any of you come from large families, or even small families (perhaps we should just say “normal families with whom you even occasionally associate”), you know that family gatherings can sometimes be…stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my wife’s family, but we’re talking relation-overdose, almost on par with the accompanying turkey overdose. For various reasons (that I won’t get into here, or anywhere really, unless it’s in person and I know you relatively well), I had a hard time during those holidays (no one’s fault, mind you), and was EXTREMELY on edge thereafter.
Not-So-Mini Crisis 2: The Heart Attack- Right after the holidays, I’d just started to get back into “the groove,” so to speak, when we got a phone call somewhere around 2 or 3 in the morning informing us that my father-in-law was having a massive heart attack and that he was being life-flighted to the nearest hospital with a critical cardio center. Wahoo. My wife and I didn’t know if her dad was going to make it, and it was obviously a scary moment for us. We took work/school off to go be with him through a bit of the surgeries/recovery. We were both mentally and emotionally shot.
So, what does any of this have to do with my NaNoWriMo experience? A lot. It taught me that I can and should take time for writing. The only way that writing was going to be something serious in my life was if I took it seriously. I was regimented. I carved time out of my life to get my words on the page, to outline my story, to make sure I had time dedicated to my craft. NaNoWriMo taught me that I could easily be a writer, that I have what it takes. Like many writers/other artists, I struggled with that a lot, and NaNo helped me prove to myself that I could not only hack it, but rock it.
So, the moral of this story? I don’t know that there is one, but it might be that participating in National Novel Writing Month is a useful exercise, and can add tools to your proverbial tool kit. Take advantage of it. Use it. The point of NaNoWriMo is to pull out the stops and just write! Sit your butt in the chair, put your hands on the keyboard (or on the pen, if you’re old school) and live a creative life!
Done with my rave. Go back to your lives citizens… until November.