This is all Elizabeth Newlin’s fault.
For the past couple of years, I’ve pondered signing up for “NaNoWriMo” (NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth), which is a… challenge? of sorts to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The rules are simple — you can’t start writing until November 1st and if you write 50,000 words by November 30 at midnight local time, you “win”.
Despite my age-old desire and goal to pen the Next Great American Novel (hereafter referred to as the NeGreAmNo), I have always managed to come up with an excuse not to participate in the event. “I’m busy.” “But this and that is going on in November.” “I’d do it if they picked a 31 day month.” Whatever. I have excuses aplenty.
Then fricking Elizabeth comes along and says she’s going to participate this year. She’s a mother of
two (whoops) three young kids, a real estate agent, a ballerina, a trapeze artist, and God knows what else. If she can’t come up with a reasonable excuse to bail out, how can I look at myself in the mirror?
So I’m in.
Elizabeth spelled out some rules she’s going to attempt to abide by. They seem reasonable and should help her be successful — with the exception of the no wine until she finishes her daily word count. What the hell is she thinking? I’m more inclined to say drink heavily while writing — it makes the words flow.
Here are my rules:
- Complete at least 1667 words a day, “break days” excluded. (Elizabeth’s going for 1700. She is an amazing writer, but a lousy mathematician. If she makes her goal, she’ll hit 51,000 words. You only need to get to 50,000 to win.)
- The excuse, “I’ll be at the National Association of Realtors annual conference for five days during November!” doesn’t fly. Deal with it.
- This one happens to be about quantity, not quality. Accept that the “novel” is going to suck. Just write.
- Try to attend a local “write in,” that could be fun.
- No one else can read it (reference Rule #3).
- It’s OK to take a break, but you have to make up the missing word count within two days.
It’s really that simple. 50,000 words in 30 days is a lot, but I think it’s doable. I usually don’t have much problem with verbosity. I’m guessing my posts here average 700 words, and there are 1700ish posts on TPREG. That’s roughly 1.2 million words — that’s about twelve average full length novels and a full twenty-four NaNoWriMo 50K entries. Of course all that was written over a period of 6.5 years, not 30 days…
None-the-less, I’m not worried about the volume. I’m concerned about the time. I’m not the fastest typist on the planet, so you’re looking at about 20 hours just in pure typing time. And of course that doesn’t account for any thinking time… Fortunately, I tend to think at roughly my typing speed so if I can get on a roll I can spew out
garbage words pretty efficiently.
I told Francy I was going to start — and finish — this endeavor, and her response was simply, “sure honey, no problem.” In other words, she’s too nice to say, “sounds like yet another project you’ll start but never finish.” Well I’ll show her! They (they being organizers and people that have done this before) say it’s important to have support. I know my wife, and when I really get into this, I know she will support me fully. She is just that kind of gal.
So off we go. In ten hours National Novel Writing Month starts.
It’s not too late to sign up… (Man up Slaybaugh.)
In case you’re wondering, this post is exactly 625 words, so I only need to write something of this length 80 times in November to “win” NaNoWriMo.