For years now, I have been fighting a battle of wills and words for the marathon known as NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month, for those of you that some how have escaped the many blog posts or articles about this sacred month. In this month of November (why couldn’t it have been a month with 31 days, I could use one more day), many will struggle to write a first draft of a novel – 50,000 words.
I will not be one of them. Instead of using the month of November to start a novel, I will use it as a push to finish my novel. In all of my years of doing NaNoWriMo, I have never “completed” the challenge. I’ve blamed this on a lot of things – my glacial writing pace, my need to think through scenes before writing them, getting through the dreaded in-between or set up scenes, and of course, second guessing whatever I put down on paper. While all of those things can make writing difficult, most of the time I’m not able to get to 50,000 words because I let life get in the way or let the number get to my head.
But, I think that misses the whole point of NaNoWriMo – setting a whole month aside to write something every day and to make an effort to do something that many are not able to do – finish something.
I used to think that having a talent meant that you could be good at something without really trying. While that might be true for the blessed few, most of us have to struggle through plot problems, characters that surprise you, the need to edit before you finish, and self-doubt. But it’s the struggle that makes it all worthwhile and the reason that you can be proud of anything that you write this month – whether it be 50,000 words or far less.
Good luck, fellow writers – may your pens be swift and your plots strong. 🙂