Each day in November, I will set the timer for steeping my morning tea, pick a word or an image or a stray thought, and write to that point until the tea is done. Could be two minutes, could be six or seven. I might end up with a little story, stream-of-consciousness musings, or drivel. Whichever, I will post it here on the site.
Why am I doing this? In a word: NaNoWriMo.
For those not conversant with that acronym, it’s short for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth, an annual creative event that has grown from an early grassroots social media phenomenon into an international publishing behemoth. Its ubiquity in the online writing community makes mentions of it inescapable this time of year. NaNoWriMo is a good and lovely creature…but everything about it repels me. It’s organized. It’s social. Participation is all about communal encouragement and peer support. Its resource libraries floweth over with timetables and to-do lists, advice on setting goals, and establishing routines, tips on productivity and interminable perky you-can-do-it-ness. The whole exercise couples the power of the collective with competitive challenges disguised as friendly encouragement.
I am not criticizing those excellent motivational tools. They’re essential to success for many. Not me. They repel me. They suffocate my creative spark and kill all desire to play with words. NaNoWriMo is inescapable, and I know from experience that it will drive me nuts if I don’t take defensive action. So, while others are busy hammering away at the monumental task of constructing a full novel draft in thirty days, I’ll be taking a break from things writing-related but for this one small daily discipline.
I applaud anyone who participates inNaNoWriMo. Writing a novel is a Huge Thing, and an accomplishment to take pride in. By the time of the event’s inaugural year, I already had two full novels under my belt. I already know I can write a novel. I even know I can publish one.
I am not making a living at this writing gig. Neither my pride nor my professional future is tied to my prose output. I can afford to fritter away a month in protection of my sanity and creativity. Stay tuned for the daily results.