Today is the 29th of November. NaNoWriMo is a challenge which takes place from the 1st to the 30th of November each year. It isn’t just a challenge, it is a self-assigned regimen. I signed up to take part in this month long writing journey and encouraged a couple of friends to take part with me.
It was one of the assignments on my A list and I wanted to seriously pursue ticking this off. November has been a very busy month what with moving apartments, my hours and days at work changing, new team members at work starting and having to train them, boycotting German class and training for a 5k run in its place, but enough with my excuses.
Writing 50,000 words in one month is more than an under taking. You need to be dedicated, passionate and focussed on the task. You need to be someone who rigorously sets goals and works towards them with determined ferocity. I have always been a person that puts off a big task until the very last remnant of time. For me to have written 25000 words to date is quite an achievement for me. I am in fact 25000 words short of the brief but I feel proud for having set time aside each week to work towards this personal goal.
I’m pleased that I took part even minimally. This is the most writing I have produced in a very long time. I have played around with a few different genres and feel as though I am identifying with a particular type of voice. I know what I want to achieve and it is just a matter of rendering, and shaping my writing over time until it reaches that place. I’ve found that I have been creating scenarios, characters and narrative in my head much more often than before I started. Walking along the street in the morning on the way to the tram, sitting at my desk and even as I’m going to sleep at night I’m still connected to this task.
Part of the experience has born a brilliant new writing group. We have regularly met during the month and we are going to keep it up after NaNoWriMo. It has been great to sit together and discuss our concerns, ideas and hurdles. Input is fantastic but input from other struggling writers is valuable and identified.
We have all found that just meeting and sitting together away from our usual environment on the sofa at home, bedroom or at our desks, has helped immensely. Of course having a glass of wine and a gossip with the girls has also helped.
I remember talking to one of my friends from the little writing club I had in Korea. He was doing NaNoWriMo and he had taken a night out to come and meet us. He was making himself crazy over increasing his word count. He described his evenings as he sat hunched over at his computer and his lovely girlfriend would call him every night to make sure he was eating. I’m glad I didn’t turn into something like that.
So tonight we meet for the last time before the end date for wine, gossip and writing. Suffice to say I don’t think I will get 25000 words on the pages by the end of the night. But I gave it a good shot even if I was a bit defeatist. Instead of calling it quits here though, I’m extending the challenge for myself and I give myself until the 10th of January at 10pm to have 50,000 words completed. This is the night before we leave for New Zealand so it will be a type of poetic closure to the challenge and a holiday reward.
So I may not have completed the challenge in its true sense but I still challenged myself and I will continue to challenge myself on my own more realistic terms for the demands of my life right now. I cannot honestly tick this off my list. I do recommend this month mission to anyone who is curious. Anything that gets you to stop making excuses and set small weekly goals is going to produce results. For me these are results that I otherwise would not be able to claim right now. I would still be describing writing as one of my hobbies having only written a few things a year. Now I have made a big step forward.