Today, writers across the globe begin the grueling challenge of NaNoWriMo.
National Novel Writing Month is a 30-day period set aside for writers (and wannabes) to complete a 50,000-word novel. There’s a LOT of hoopla surrounding it — pep talks, guides to success, tweets, blogs.
Too bad. Once again, I won’t be joining them.
This year, my problem is TIME (or rather, the lack of it).
You see, I’m challenged with:
- A needy dog named Dallas
- A needy, aging mother
- A full-time job (that I’ve neglected too much already)
- A body that craves proper nutrition, daily exercise, and sleep
There are only 24 hours in a day, try as we might to stretch them.
Oh, I’d love having a full month to focus only on my novel. To work my way out of the Murky Middle. To learn what my characters are doing in the world I’ve created for them and how they’re going to handle the crises I throw at them. To watch them grow (or fail and get back up to try again). To see who lives until the end (and who dies).
But NaNoWriMo isn’t the way I choose to write.
I don’t need a word count hanging over my head to set me up for failure.
I don’t want special offers from sponsors or completion badges.
I don’t need to compare my efforts to others, or have anyone shame me into putting down words.
I need more TIME, and nothing about NaNoWriMo promises to give me that.
Because it’s not that I don’t want to write. It’s finding the time. Squeezing in the want-tos when there are so doggone many have-tos.
Estimates say NaNoWriMo participants need to pen 2,000 words — give or take — each day to reach their target.
But 2,000 GOOD words in a day’s time, every single day for a month, is hard, even for the pros.
Take Irish author James Joyce, for example.
The story is told that when a friend asked Joyce how his work was going, the author said, “I got seven words today.”
“But James, that’s good … at least for you,” the friend said.
“Perhaps,” Joyce said, “but I don’t know what order they go in!”
I feel his pain.
I’d rather write one good sentence a day than 1,000 words only suitable for the trashcan.
I’d rather write when I can squeeze it in than shirk my responsibilities and live with guilt.
So, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, have at it — and good luck!