November 1 kicks off National Novel Writing Month or what many affectionately refer to as NaNoWriMo. During the month, participants work towards writing a novel by completing a minimum of 50,000 total words. Back in 2011, I had every intention of joining the challenge for the first time. I even wrote a little article here at Walrus, detailing all the information you needed to know to join in the challenge as well. Unfortunately, my plans did not come to fruition.
It is now 2013 and I am determined to make it my year to meet this goal. I have written poems and short stories, essays, and articles on a variety of topics, but never a novel. It is the year to change that.
I have pulled out my idea book. I have narrowed down my ideas of which project I will work on. However, I have not chosen the ONE, the story that will overtake my life for the month of November. This means that I have not yet mapped out where the story will go or written a basic outline. I have only days to finish these tasks and there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for the month ahead.
When I think about the month ahead, I start calculating the numbers. In 30 days, I will need to write a minimum of 50,000 words. That breaks down to 1667 words per day. Due to other responsibilities, I will more realistically be able to write 5 days out of the week. This breaks it down to a more realistic 21 days of writing for me, resulting in 2381 words per day.
I am behind on my preparations and seeing numbers like 2381 words per day has me wondering if I am absolutely crazy to embark on this endeavor. I become overwhelmed and begin questioning my intent to participate. I am not a seasoned novelist. I am a newbie. I have never written a novel in my life. I have only dreamt about it. How can I make this a reality when I don’t feel that my goal is realistic?
Then, I visit the NaNoWriMo website and as I write this, I see that I am one of more than 170,000 people with this same goal. Some have participated in the challenge for years. Some are first-timers just like me. Some will succeed in their goal. Others will not. However, every single one of them will be trying.
I have had a dream to someday write a novel. My current circumstances make this a possibility. I will admit that I am scared and nervous. I will admit that I often question myself and my sanity. I will admit that I really have no idea what I am getting myself into and that I am completely unprepared. Nonetheless, 2013 will be the year that I will try. Afterall, one cannot succeed without trying and I am ready to face this challenge. It will be nice to know that I will not be going this alone on my first time.
What recommendations do you have for myself and all other novelist newbies? Any great websites for encouraging first-time NaNo participants? How about a cheer of encouragement or a shout-out to let me know you’re joining in on the adventure?