Make that a LOT intimidated.
Oh, the pressure!
In case you are among the rare few in the writing community who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, here’s what their website says:
On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Did you get that? The 50,000 words part? In a month?
(Stop snickering, Ruthy.)
Let me break this down. That means, if you average five writing days a week, you have exactly 20 days. Which means you need to write 2500 words a day, every day. But even if you manage to write every single day for the entire month, you’d still need to average 1600+ words a day!
On a good day I might hit 1000. On a great day, maybe 1500. On a super-duper, words-are-flowing-like-melted-butter day, I have occasionally made it to 2500.
But how many of those super-duper days does any one writer have in her (or him)?
Yes, I know. Unless your name is Ruth Logan Herne.
Did I mention I’m thinking of changing my name?
Okay, for the first time EVER, I have just actually visited the NaNoWriMo website to educate myself about this phenomenon. There’s a lot more to it than I ever imagined! Like, it’s ORGANIZED! You have to sign up and everything. And then prove you actually wrote actual words!
BUT no one actually reads the manuscript you submit to prove you actually wrote that many actual words.
AND you get badges for your accomplishments! Writers live for affirmation, don’t we?
AND you might even win a fabulous prize!
So . . . why aren’t I participating? Let’s count it down.
10. You saw the 50,000 words part, right? In a month???
9. It’s November. Thanksgiving comes in November. For anyone planning an actual Thanksgiving dinner, that means at least one or two fewer writing days. Three or four, if you count the days sleeping in because you ate too much on Thanksgiving. Five or six (or more!) if you’re expecting company and need to shovel out the guest room!
8. Every year, it seems I get to November with a lot of other writing things I need to be doing, like trying to meet a deadline for the revisions my editor just sent, or promoting a recent release, or (this year) co-teaching an online writing class (waving to Dora Hiers and the class).
7. Have you noticed that November is when a lot of leaves are falling? That means regular raking and bagging just so we can find our way out to the mailbox and back. Okay, so hubby does most of the raking and bagging. But sometimes I need to supervise, or he will suddenly develop an irresistible macho urge to break out the pruning shears and decapitate my prize hydrangeas.
6. November is also the month when I have to find sunny spots indoors for all my outdoor potted plants so they don’t freeze. It’s a lot of work digging the plants out from under all the falling leaves, trimming off straggly foliage, and making sure every plant is sitting in some kind of saucer so my carpet and windowsills aren’t ruined. This takes planning, and lots of it.
5. Once a month—and November is no exception—I have to brainstorm a Seekerville blog topic. You can see how well I did coming up with this month’s! And once I narrow down my topic, I have to actually write the post, which can take hours and hours of concentrated effort (can’t you tell?). Okay, true, an organized Seeker doing NaNo would have prewritten her blog, like, last April or May or something. I’m organized, but not that organized.
4. Sitting in a chair to write for hours on end (November or any other time of year) is not beneficial to one’s health. I have a treadmill desk, but I've never been very successful with it. For one thing, I make a lot more typos, which wastes time. For another, there’s some kind of disconnect in my brain when I try to walk, think, and type all at the same time. This begins to look like an accident waiting to happen.
3. Have I mentioned my husband is semi-retired? Anyone who lives practically 24/7 with a husband under foot knows full well how distracting they can be! “Honey, my Internet is down. Can you take a look at my computer?” “Honey, can this shirt go in the dryer or not?” “Honey, [even though he now does most of the cooking] do you have any ideas for supper?”
2. I’d rather save my big writing push until March, when Seekerville hosts Speedbo. March is a MUCH better month for concentrated writing, don’t you think? And we give fabulous prizes, too!
1. 50,000 words in 30 days. ’Nuf said.
So what are your excuses for avoiding NaNoWriMo?
Or, if you’re one of the brave souls who made the NaNo commitment this year, tell us how you conquer the excuses so you can keep pounding out the words. Give me enough good reasons to counterbalance my list of negatives, and maybe I’ll reconsider next year.
Because we all know that it sometimes takes large doses of caffeine to maintain a functional writer’s brain, today’s giveaway is a $10 gift card to Starbucks! Anyone for a pumpkin spice latte??? If you want to be included in the drawing, just use the word SPICE (in ALL CAPS, please) somewhere in your comment!
And, in honor of Veteran's Day and my Navy grandson, who just graduated from A-school to become a corpsman ...