It’s November and that means NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar with this annual writing challenge, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November thousands of writers worldwide sign up to see who can write the best 50,000 word novel in 30 days. At the end of the month you download your completed manuscript for judging and the winner is published. Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, it doesn’t matter. One basic rule applies to all. No writing can be done before 12:01am on November 1st, and all writing must cease by 11:59pm on November 30th. You can research, make copious notes, construct elaborate outlines and character sketches, even draw maps of imaginary lands all before the commencement of the competition, but you cannot draft any part of your manuscript proper. The entire contest is run on the honor system.
I’ve been intrigued by the idea of accepting such a challenge, but so far I haven’t had the courage to try. This is partly due to questioning whether or not I’m ready, but also, November just doesn’t strike me as being the best month to hold such a competition. November is the beginning of the holiday season. We’ve just finished with Halloween and are now barreling ever faster toward Thanksgiving and then Christmas/New Years. My house needs to be thoroughly cleaned and meals planned for all the dinner and party guests anticipated. I need to start addressing Christmas cards and purchasing and wrapping gifts, some of which need to be done early enough to be mailed. There are cookies to be baked and tress to be decorated. For many in this area, November is also hunting season. For me, this is not a negative, but could be seen as a positive, since I do not hunt but my husband and most everyone else I know does. This could mean a lot of time alone to write if it wasn’t for the above-mentioned holiday preparations. How about January? No one is partying and our houseguests, like fish, have begun to stink and been thrown out…so to speak. At most, there are decorations to come down, but that can be done in drips and drabs while we ponder our next chapter or plot twist.
Perhaps one day, several years from now when I can retire from my day job (even part time jobs take up time and brain energy) I will plot and plan and then register to give it a try. But may I suggest once more, if you are reading this NaNoWriMo powers-that-be, might we consider January? I can think of no better way to spend those short frigid days of winter than sitting at my computer pretending I’m on a tropical island somewhere drinking an overpriced fruity cocktail with an umbrella in it while the warm azure waves of the Pacific lap at my toes. I might even pretend to take my husband with me, that is, if I believed I could pry him away from the ski slopes.
There’s another question for you. Whoever thought that flying down the side of a mountain on two skinny pieces of wood would be fun? All while trying to avoid trees and other people of questionable judgment and intelligence also riding on two skinny pieces of wood? Ahhhh…but that’s a topic for another blog.