NaNoWriMo. Yup, it's that time again. If you're interested in writing at all, or if you have an internet connection, then I probably don't need to explain NaNoWriMo, but I'm going to anyway for the sake of the uninitiated. NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place each year during November.
When I first met my husband, about 5 years ago, he had heard that I wanted to write a novel, and being the attentive and marvelous husband that he is, he sent me the NaNoWriMo link. Between that time and now, I have failed miserably (every single freaking year) at even getting started with the process. I can't explain my dismal failure. There is no excuse. Had I gotten off to a roaring start but petered out, or started but realized that I sucked as a writer, that I could understand, but this is something different. I really never got started, which is unlike me. I'm a doer. That's what I do, I do stuff. I've been pondering this today and come to the realization that I must be afraid. I loathe and detest being afraid of things. It really pisses me off.
You may know that I write other things - short stories, poems, technical documents. Clearly, I have the capability to write. I'm not saying that all of it is great or even good, I'm just saying I can put some words on the paper, my friends. I'm a member of two writing groups, Southwest Writers and another smaller, yet-to-be-named enterprise, for which I regularly produce written material. What's my problem? I come to the conclusion that to me a well-written novel is the epitome of awesomeness and I'm afraid to fail so I have been beating it to the chase by failing before I even begin. Which is unacceptable. I've had just about enough of this crap.
Note to self: Suck it up, buttercup.
Of course I may fail. Highly likely, in fact. But I can't become a better writer unless I write and what better inspiration than NaNoWriMo, in which thousands of other people write and join together in solidarity. I feel inspired just typing that. November is the month to focus on output, not perfect sentences or endless editing. Just write. (The ruthless editing takes place in December. So we can all have a lovely winter holiday filled with good cheer.) I can do this and if you're a writer, I encourage you to do it as well. If you decide to try it, let's be writing buddies. Look me up here.
I absolutely adore Chuck Wendig's Terrible Minds and he has written an article called 25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo. If you read that one and crave more, read the whole NaNoWriMo primer by Chuck.
Let's do this. Sharpen your pencils, charge up the laptop, do whatever it is you need to do, because we're going to write a novel.
I almost published this without giving proper credit to the very talented artist featured in this post. My bad! All art is by Dominique Fortin. Click here or on any image to view the artist's website.