I’m doing NaNoWriMo. Sixty-percent of it anyway. That’s my goal and I’m halfway there. November is National Novel Writing Month and half a million writers worldwide are pushing the pen toward achieving 50,000 words each by month’s end. Literally. Figuratively, the phrase “pushing the pen” encompasses all the tools writers use, including tapping the keyboard, which is how I prefer to channel my inner voice.
The official NaNoWriMo website encourages participants to write 50,000 words and rewards them by calling them winners when they log at least that many on day 30. I did not realize this until one week into my 1000-words a day commitment. I should have been writing 1,667 words daily! I thought about throwing in the towel, but the world I’d created in seven days would not quit spinning. The characters had a conflict they needed me to resolve.
It’s not just about me anymore
I calculated what it would take to be a NaNoWriMo winner and contemplated going for the 1870 words a day to catch up. I spent one evening writing in a cozy chair in my favorite library and made great progress amidst the hundreds upon hundreds of published books. I could almost hear a chorus of successful authors cheering me on, inviting me to join them upon the shelves someday.
Then I missed two days writing due to a conflict of balancing fulltime employment and family activities that spiked because of project deadlines and birthday celebrations. Again, the thought crossed my mind to give it up. And left solely to me, I would have. But those characters I’d made up now took up more room in my mind and their quest to survive overcame my ability to shut them up.
So I agreed to continue writing them down on one condition: I’d go back to my original goal of 1000 words a day. Most days since, I’ve gone over by a few hundred words because one can’t stop smack dab in the middle of a great idea. In all actuality, this is 1000 words more than I’d ever committed to and stuck (mostly) with per day.
In all honesty, it is not easy and not something I necessarily look forward to each day. Like when I trained for my first 5k, rising to run at the crack of dawn three to four frigid mornings a week. I didn’t always like that I’d signed up to do that, but I also never regretted running after I ran. I still feel that way. If anything, I feel accomplished, especially when I cross the finish line of any 5k with my arms raised triumphantly.
Halfway into this month, I have found the same to be true of writing. Sitting down to type does not always come naturally, but once the words cross the line from being forced to freely flowing, I have yet to regret the exercise of writing. I look forward to reaching my 30k-word goal. (In my book, that’s winning.)
Enough of my NaNoWriMo journey. There’s a ringing in my ears. My characters are calling me to bring them back to life by taking over mine.