There is an amalgam of optimism and insanity in signing up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). Both are month-long self-challenges that could, possibly, cause a writer to form a Good Habit: writing every day.
I slipped into my first NaNoWriMo challenge a few days ago, after a great, overdue discussion with a friend. She’s doing it. “Why not you?” she queried. And, as if in a dream, I found myself on the NaNoWriMo website entering my information. Fifty-thousand words by the end of November 30th is the goal of NaNoWriMo. Just before November began, I tweeted (and doesn’t that make me sound like a social media savant), my first real tweet: Like waking up in Vegas and finding oneself married to a stranger, I find that I have signed up for my first NaNoWriMo. (No, no! Not that I have done that! It’s just that I have a vivid imagination.)
In the spirit of in for a penny, in for a pound, I signed up for blogging everyday this month as well. This seems like a natural pairing: enter the mysterious productivity zone, and then report about it to the world. Of course, no one need see a writer’s wretched 50,000 words – the idea is to produce a draft without criticism or self-criticism. A blog post, however, by its very nature, yearns to be seen.
As for insanity, there’s making a commitment to writing amidst the growing demands of the holiday season, as well as the usual (and sometimes unusual) family (and sometimes work) stuff. There’s the sword of Damocles – the threat of feeling “cut down” if one does not achieve the glory of 50,000 words.
Fifty thousand words is at the low end of most novels’ word counts. That’s 1,667 words to write per day in November if you are including all weekends and Thanksgiving. Would it comfort you to know that Animal Farm comes in at a mere 29,966 words? Or that Harlequin seeks only 30,000 words for it’s erotic romance line? Or that Indie author Hugh Howey successfully markets both his longer works (such as Sand at 252 pages/87,832 words) and his shorter works (such as Glitch, at 15 pages/4,884 words). Jasinda Wilder’s Big Girls Do It Better (Book 1), is an appetizer sized 32 pages, but her break-out hit, Falling Into You is 369 pages. Does size matter? Really?
For my four-part series, I wasn’t aiming as high as a cumulative 50K. Sixteen thousand would have been fine for me. And so, on this Day 1, my own tiny struggle is: Am I aiming for the NaNoWriMo completion badge of 50,000 words – and can I make it, or will I feel grateful to have steadily produced whatever it takes to finish this work?
Set the technicalities aside for now. This beginning is a cautiously happy one. I shall push forward with a story I believe in and in the company of virtual and actual thousands. For this little while, writing need not seem lonely – – and I just might end up with a completed four-part work.
[cross-posted at http://www.blogher.com/romance-nanowrimo-and-nablopomo]