I first heard about National Novel Writing Month in November 2009. I was incredulous that anyone who didn’t write for a living would be able to write 50,000 words in one month. That’s about 1,666 or 1,667 words a day! At that point I felt accomplished and stretched if I typed in 550 words a day, about the length of a computer document page. I would have to essentially triple my output if I ever wanted to participate - say, the next year. That year it was blissfully too late, so I had a great excuse not to worry about whether or not I should try it. 2010 and 2011 went by with me giving NaNo nary a thought; no one I knew ever talked about it and I wasn’t “plugged in” to any writing community.
This year, however, I almost considered participating. My commitment to writing, which I had always believed strong, burgeoned, particularly over August and September; I was becoming more disciplined and focused on my daily output; and I had discovered an inspiring online community of young authors like me who were talking about it. Many had participated and even accomplished their goals!
Just think, 50,000 words will, if not give you a complete novel, at least give you a substantial manuscript that should be no trouble to finish soon afterwards. As long as you win NaNo you’ll have something to work with that you can more than likely finish. No doubt NaNo is the best thing for many people. I thought it might actually work some wonders for me, too, this year - I had a novel that needed completing; I’ve been working on it since June 2011. It didn’t need 50,000 more words, but I thought that there was still a large chunk left out in space that called for an application of NaNo.
But then I received one of those fabulous story epiphanies that come when one is not actively writing (I think this one visited me in bed): I finally recognized the ending that my novel Adventure in England needed. And I was much closer than I thought.
And so I realized I didn’t need NaNo after all. That was a wonderful feeling of accomplishment in itself. I even had hopes of finishing before that, but now I see I’ll finish it during. I won’t need 50,000 words, but I will reach a worthy goal during this ingenious annual event. I’ll be there celebrating with other writers at the end of November.
What will 2013 look like?