The month of November has been dubbed NaNoWriMo. This means National Novel Writing Month. It was started by a guy named Chris Baty and the first one took place during the month July, 1999. He moved it to November because it's a sad, boring month, and November needs something inspiring attached to it.
The goal is to reach about 50,000 words ("The Great Gatsby"-sized) of a novel, either by completing the novel or having written the first 50,000 words of the novel. I've got a feeling I'm just going to have written the first 50,000. But, if you've got that much, you win. Anyone who gets that far is a winner.
I participated in 2008, but I failed only making it to 16,000 words of a book I had been wanting to start. This past summer, I finally finished that book (which needs some major editing). When October came around and I started hearing more about NaNoWriMo, I knew I wasn't going to be a part of it. I still had the first book of a (so far, planned) trilogy to work on. You can't write the second book until you're completely happy with the first one, right?
And then, on Oct. 31, last minute, I decided, "Screw it. I'm going to start Book 2." I had no plan. I really had no idea where I really wanted to GO with Book 2. I told a friend on Twitter that I had changed my mind about NaNoWriM,o and I was going to do it by saying this:
I have decided to
Here's the thing with me and writing. It takes discipline. Guess what I lack? Yup. Discipline. So, why did it take over two years to write the first book? Discipline.
And then, I started writing Book 2. The first week, I had this unbelievable itch to write. I had to. I had this OCD mentality about it. If I didn't get to do it, I was going to freak out. Each evening, the first week, I made sure I had my computer up and running so I could write. By the time the second week hit, we would be at a friend's house for dinner and I would say to Steph, "We need to go. I haven't NaNoWriMo'd tonight."
Even if I'm not quite sure where I want to go with the story that day, I sit down and write. Some days it's really easy and the words fly out of me. Other days, it's incredibly difficult and I catch myself nodding off because it's so late. If it's one of the late nights, I just make sure I get to the minimum word count for the day, which is 1,667 words. The minute I do, it's a huge relief. By that point, though, I'm usually awake again on a second wind and I write some more.
It hasn't been uncommon for me to stay up past midnight writing.
I have even set up a spreadsheet to help me with characters, plot-points and word count numbers. The minute I introduce a new character, I enter their name and a short description in the column. I have never been so precise.
If anything, NaNoWriMo has taught me that I can be very disciplined if I need to be, and it also removes the difficulty of it. So much of writing is just doing it, but you can ask anyone else and they'll tell you that they find ways to become distracted. I am one of those people, but luckily for the month of November I have become dedicated to it, and I hope that I will take this dedication that I've learned about myself, this discipline, and use it further, because quite honestly, I would like to see these things and print.
And so do you.
You just don't know it yet.