To write or not to write

A couple of years ago, I participated somewhat halfheartedly in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which challenges people to set aside everything else in their lives for the month of November to write a 50,000-word novel.  Sadly, I didn’t come remotely close to my goal.  In fact, if memory serves me correctly, I think I gave up completely about a week before Thanksgiving, having only written about 10,000 words by then, and knowing full well that I would not be able to conjure up 40,000 more in less than two weeks.

I really do like the idea of forcing oneself to write.  Just write.  About anything. Even if it is complete nonsense.  I try to do that these days when playing my piano: just play.  Anything.  Even if it sounds like poo.  (Of course, now that I have an immediate recital goal, that philosophy will resume in October.  More on that later.)  I’ve even tried to do the same when maintaining this silly blog.  And we all know, after witnessing several month-long lapses in posts, just how successful I have been in that endeavor.

Unfortunately, there are a few problems with the timing of this event that makes it next to impossible for me to participate with the required gusto.  November is a terribly busy month for me: not only must I contend with the annual rigamarole of Thanksgiving family time, which usually takes a four-day weekend, but I must also spend the majority of my time that month working quite exhaustively with my state’s music teacher association, editing the yearbook and organizing our state-wide conference.  That leaves me with very little free time, and my body decided last time that it would rather sleep than pull all-nighters to complete a nonsensical novel.  What can I say – I’m not so young anymore.  My body can’t do the things it used to be able to do.

I have yet to figure out why the organizers of NaNoWriMo opted for one of the most hectic months of the year.  Why couldn’t they have chosen a month like March, when people are usually suffering in the doldrums between winter and spring?  Even a summer month would have been more convenient; I would gladly tote my laptop outside on a beautiful day to write.  The fact remains that my mind and body are always too worn out during the holiday season to do much of anything, especially that which requires creativity.

I wish that I had more devious and unethical bones in my body.  If I did, I would start the novel now, be done with it by September, then gradually cut and paste it in NaNoWriMo’s magical word counting machine.  But, since that tactic is technically against the rules, and really defeats the purpose of the whole idea, guilt would probably prevent me from accepting the snippet of code to paste on my blog to indicate that I had no life for a month.

If I did decide to drive myself to the brink of insanity by cranking out so many words in such a short period of time, I certainly would need to be much more organized and dedicated than I was last time.  The question is, when I know exactly how busy I will be for the month of November, should I even consider participating this year?


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike
    Jul 15, 2008 @ 00:36:10


    That is what my Cross Country coach used to say.


  2. Shayne Power
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 01:54:49

    This year will be my third year. I have yet to top 10,000 words or make it past two weeks before quitting. And as I’m in Australia, I don’t have to worry about Thanksgiving, and November is the last month of spring!

    I’m going to do a really in-depth outline this year. That is specifically not against the rules and will probably help me keep going when I really don’t know what to do next.

    Good luck to you anyway.


  3. Trackback: Can you spell cacophony? » Thinking about nanowrimo 2008
  4. megan
    Jul 31, 2008 @ 07:02:23

    Shayne: Thanks for stopping by! You’re not the first person to give me that advice, so I’m starting to think that an outline is the way to go. NaNoWriMo even encourages it! Perhaps a little more preparation will get me a little further this year. Good luck to you, as well!


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