I originally planned for this post to be released last night on Halloween, but minions and a sugar-induced coma (mine, not the minions) blew that right out the window. So today is November 1st, 2013 and marks the beginning of the annual “thirty days of literary abandonment” known as NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month for those who are not familiar with this cruel punishment. You have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel of original origin, meaning not the half-baked story you tossed aside months ago or the almost completed novel that you have been slaving over. It has to be a new story, never told before by you, the writer.
I first heard about NaNo in 2006 from an old writing partner and since then I have participated in the event to one extent or another with the exemption of 2009. I have experienced the thrill of the challenge, the stress of low word counts, and the foreboding sense of doom as November 30th approaches and my word count hovers at the mid 30k (three years in a row). I have written many a post and have had many a discussion with my colleagues over the years regarding NaNo – the general concept, writing styles, time management, coping mechanisms, writing references. I have battled writer’s block at times and on the other hand struggled to balance work/minion schedules to find the time to write when I was on my game. I have commiserated with thousands of other would-be authors over our failures both online and in person.
Last year, I managed to pull it off. Last year I won with a total of total of 54,314 words. How, after so many years of failure, did I pull it off? I worked my ass off slaving over each and every word and phrase to accomplish that goal, ignoring laundry and minions and sleep until literally seconds before the deadline. And for two full days, I did not write a single contraction. It was one of the most amazing experiences in my writing career and as I write this post, I find myself regretting the decision not to participate after my victory. I’m going to miss the excitement of the contest this year, but I have good reasons. The novel that gave me that wonderful sense of accomplishment last November is still going in full swing and commands my full attention. It is bad enough that if I slack off for just one day: Alex stands there and glares daggers at me until I reach for the keyboard, Elle starts hurling insults at me in her native tongue, and even our usually calm, cool and collected Detective Rouche picks a fight with me. So I have to finish their stories, or else I may find myself on the wrong end of Alex’s favorite toy.
On top of that, I also have a full household to run, a full time job to keep up with, and hopes about going back to school in January to get a degree in Mass Communication. My plate is full, so to speak. I will still miss the rush and am looking forward to jumping back into the deep end in 2014, but until then I will continue my journey into the story that haunts my every waking moment. I wish my friends and colleagues much luck and here is to finding your sanity again on December 1st.