Some writers look forward to it all year. For them, it's like the Writers' Olympics - a chance to flex their muscles and show off their already-well-honed skills of speed, dexterity and stamina in all their glory. Others view it as the Kick Up The Bum They Need, so they can finally stop dreaming about becoming a writer, put their money where their mouth is and actually write that novel they've always dreamed of writing, dammit. Some don't care if they don't meet the 50,000 word target by the deadline - the point is just to write and have fun doing it. Others take it deadly seriously - for them, failure is not an option.
And then there's the folks like me. At least, I'm assuming I'm not the only writer on Planet Earth who feels this way.
The minute the word NaNoWriMo starts popping up everywhere, I'm that person who dips her head down and tries to disappear into the wallpaper. Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of it. If it gets people writing who would otherwise not have the courage or motivation to write I'm all for waving my pom-poms at that ball game. Just so long as I can do it quietly and discreetly, without anyone asking "So, are you doing it too then?"
Because that's where it gets awkward. 50,000 words, in one month? I already know I'd fail at that, thanks. I get two hours a day at the most for writing and I'm - well, just not that fast at transferring my brain contents from their squishy home to the digital page. And that's been my reasoning for not doing NaNoWriMo for... probably since forever. Is there any point in setting yourself a challenge you are almost 100% certain to fail, other than for the purpose of kicking yourself when you're already, if not down, at least not that far up?
Besides, for the past two years I've had another
But something weird's happened to me this year. I've found myself thinking things like "Maybe I could give it a go..." "It wouldn't matter that much if I didn't make the 50,000 word target..." and even "Maybe a bit of freewheeling-down-the-hill-with-no-brakes-style writing is just what I need to get my mojo back while I'm thrashing my way through The Difficult Middle Phase of Redemption..." In other words, I think I may be, kind of... warming to the idea.
Of course, the longer I leave it to make my mind up, the more failing to meet the 50,000 word target becomes a given; it's November 2nd now, so I've lost two days of potential writing time before I even start. But since I've made peace with that already, perhaps I can tweak this whole NaNoWriMo thing a little more. I've got lots of story ideas tumbling around in my head right now, and I'm going to have to write them down at some point anyway...
So, for those of you like me, who find the official NaNoWriMo goals a tad too intimidating, here is my proposed 'lite' version:
To write 10,000 words a week of anything creative during the month of November.
- This includes (but is not limited to); novels, novellas and short stories - and ideas, character profiles and outlines for any of the former, scripts, poems, lyrics, comic strips, blog posts, free-writing exercises and (non-work-related) journal entries.
- This does not include; letters and emails, comments left on forum messageboards, the blog posts of others or social media sites, forms and questionnaires (both in paper form and online) shopping lists, to-do lists and post-it note messages to friends and family.
Personally, I may well fail at this too. But no matter - what's important is the process of freeing up those brain cogs and grinding the rust offa them. And if it goes well, I might continue the regime for the next month - and the next, and the next. 10,000 words a month every month - of anything creative. Let's see if that helps me get through the Difficult Middle Phase!
What are you doing for NaNoWriMo-vember? Are you embracing it - or avoiding it? How does it normally go for you? I'd love to know.