Would you believe that out of all the times I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, I’ve never won once? I know I have a novel in me, but I’ve never had quite the stamina to make it to 50,000 words. Every October, I have new resolve. I say, “This year will be the year!”
And then around the middle of November, Derek Zoolander of the Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good always seems to be leering over my shoulder, saying, “What is this! A novel for ants?” I watch my word count level out, failing to meet the new goal each day.
This blog entry is just to say, that’s totally okay! What I lose in volume, I gain in a handful of gems—bits of written work that the habitual editor in me actually appreciates. The most consistent advice I’ve ever received about writing is to do it all the time, and that can be a huge challenge. I have sent off drafts of stories to friends with email subject lines like: “Blarrgh! I’m done looking at this!” On the flip side, I’m intimate with that feeling of seeing everything fall into place; and the more I write, the more I learn to recognize that feeling, and the more I want to pursue it.
I was talking to an old classmate of mine recently. He told me about a talk he had with our former creative writing professor wherein she mentioned only one or two people from her senior class usually continue to write. One or two?! The statistic made me tick off names in my head as I became more determined to be one of those two, or maybe a miraculous third.
I know there are people out there who are not sure about whether to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Whether they’ll have enough time to dedicate to it. Don’t sweat it. It’s actually the same inner-monologue I contend with every year. And I’ve actually seen a couple reblogs from us, where people were still debating it (yeah, dudes, we read the reblogs!). I’m not one to up-sell because I can tell when someone is up-selling to me, and it makes me very nervous and wary. But I did want to point out the value I get out of participating, even though I’ve yet to win.
Being a fairly non-competitive person, I tend to need some kind of intrinsic motivation when it comes to NaNo, and I think it’s awesome that for a month I get to become that person that eats, sleeps, and breathes a novel. Are you planning on doing NaNo this year, and if so, what’s your motivation to participate? Is it winning, or is it something else?
Seriously though, this year is the year.