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 310,000 people participated. Tens of thousands of them were winners defined in the rules as writing over 50,000 words. NaNoWriMo’s 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 fifth year in a row (or the fifteen 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 x 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 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 longer
- The ribbon broke on my typewriter (who knows what I’m talking about?)
- I have to get ready for Thanksgiving
- My protagonist’s on strike
- I fired my muse
- I don’t have anything to wear
- I hate being pressured more than I hate opera
- 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 dog’s butt needs detailing.
- Of course not. I don’t have to leap into a fire pit to know I’ll get burned.
- 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
- Participating in 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? You at the back of the room–speak up…
–reprinted from Today’s Author.
–image courtesy of NaNoWriMo website
Oh–if you’d like to know why people participate, check out Elisa Lorello’s post. If you want to get involved with other NaNoWriMo writers, check out your local libraries. Many (like this one in Grand Rapids Michigan) have month-long events to groupize (I’m allowed to make up words; I’m a writer) what is too often a lonely activity. And finally, put this NaNoWriMo Get Psyched music on your Favorites list. Play it whenever your energy lags. It is fantastic (includes Eye of the Tiger–a perennial favorite).
More on NaNoWriMo:
8 Tips to Prepare for NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo — Oh No
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 the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, 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, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.