I have participated in National Novel Writing Month for the past four years. Set in the month of November, NaNoWriMo is the time of year when the most insane among us commit to writing 50,000 words of a novel in only 30 days. Yup, that’s 1,667 words a day, every day, for an entire month. In two of the previous four years of literary abandon, I have succeeded in reaching to 50k milestone. This year, with confidence surging through my young adult veins, I decided to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge once again. I had an outline, a multitude of detailed “scene” cards, and a two-pound bag of candy corn.
Even though I’ve completed NaNo before, the task still seems daunting.
Today marked the first day of writing for me and for the many writers participating this month. This morning I got after a night of candy binging and late-night horror movie watching, made myself a cup of tea, and drove down the road to a familiar table at Panera. A lush green salad and small chunk of bread on a napkin beside me, I flipped my laptop open. Then I proceeded to do everything I possibly could to avoid that dreaded blinking curser on my screen. I checked my email — about a dozen times, mind you. I surfed the web for relevant information I could include in my novel. I scrolled the NaNo Word Sprints Twitter page. I downloaded a song. Or two. Or an entire album.
Before I knew it, an hour was gone. And my word count barely totaled 300 words. Not only that, but I hated every one of them on the page.
For many writers, getting started is the hardest part. The white expanse of a blank Word document can be more intimidating than the act of writing itself.
What NaNoWriMo is here to tell you, is to not give up. Don’t give up before you’ve even begun. If you have the drive and passion to put your story into the world, then it’s going to happen. So disconnect that internet. Turn off the television. Lock your nosey cat in another room. Hunker down and start pushing those keys.
The only thing standing in your way is you.
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” – E.L. Doctorow