November 1st-30th–National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know)–is when the entire world picks up a pen and writes. Thousands of words a day with the goal of finishing a novel in a month. Words pour from pens like ants racing to an abandoned picnic. People stop going to movies, watching TV, skip football games, all in the name of literary endeavor.
Last year, over 256,000 people participated. Over 36,000 of them were winners defined in the rules as writing over 50,000 words. The tagline–thirty days and nights of literary abandon–couldn’t be more true. In any month but November, a novel would take from one to ten years to complete, exhaust the writer and infuriate those close to them who don’t understand how fictitious people can be so gal-darn fascinating.
Well, for the fourth year in a row (or the fourteenth if I count from Year One), I’ll be skipping this massive meeting of the minds. I weighed the pros and cons, lined them up on two sides of an 8.5×11 sheet of college lined notepaper, compared and contrasted, and realized it just won’t work for me. Here’s why:
- I don’t believe in miracles
- To rephrase Ashton Kucher, NaNoWriMo looks an awful lot like work
- I have to wash my hair (Is that excuse ever followed by something believable?)
- To rephrase Winston Churchill, It has all the virtues I dislike (hard work, cerebral endeavor, camaraderie) and none of the vices I admire (sloth, perspicacity, wordiness)
- Some books get clearer the more words you put into them; mine just gets murkier
- The ribbon broke on my typewriter (does anyone know what I’m talking about?)
- I have to get ready for Thanksgiving
- My protagonist’s on strike
- I don’t have anything to wear
- I burned that bridge last year
- Writing a novel in 30 days is one of the things I do best–along with finding needles in haystacks.
- I asked my husband if he’d support me in my endeavor. He said, Sure, in the tone of voice he uses to tell me the toilets are backed up again.
- Of course not. I don’t have to leap into a fire pit to know I’ll get burned.
- I don’t usually let sleeping dogs lie, but here, I’ll make an exception
- After all is said and done, a h*** of a lot more is said than done.
- I can write, but it won’t do any good
- If there is a God, he always takes a break November 1st – November 30th
- As an efriend once commented, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, worn a hole in it and now use it as a duster”
- I like deadlines as much as sticking my tongue on a block of ice
- Ever see a car backfire? That’s my brain on NaNoWriMo
- the words that would be the roar in my engine never seem to show up
- NaNoWriMo doesn’t even beat hitting golf balls in sand traps
- The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on
Anyone have one good reason why I should enter? No? You at the back of the room–speak up…
–reprinted from Today’s Author.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, Cisco guest blog, and a monthly contributor to Today’s Author. In her free time, she is editor of a K-8 technology curriculum and technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a thriller that should be out to publishers next summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.