November has, and always will be, a crazy month for me. For one thing, it’s my birthday month. Thanksgiving happens, the only holiday my family is guaranteed to get together on, which usually involves cross country flights and … well … family. Not to mention the big life changes I’ve seen — I’ve quit my job in November, twice; moved in November, four times; house broke a puppy in snowy November Alaska; and even had the only surgery in my life in November.
Yet, I am going to attempt to make enough time available to write a novel this month.
2017 marks my fifth attempt at the National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. This event has a very simple premise … we all have a novel inside of us, the hard part is getting it from your head to paper. It has simple rules too … write 50,000 words in the month of November; it doesn’t have to be a complete novel, a good novel, or even a novel – in fact, the point is to not care about the point, just crank out 50,000 words. Of course, there is nothing simple about any of this, but more on that later.
Like I said, this is my fifth attempt … it will be my third attempt to ‘win’. Winning isn’t about beating anyone, it’s an ironically poor choice of words to describe what it means to actually complete 50,000 words in a month. The first attempt I made happened the same month I learned about NaNoWriMo. It was November 10th, 2013 and I thought “I can still pull this off” … I didn’t … not even close, didn’t log the book into the program. 2014 I thought I was better prepared; even tried meeting with a local group of writers in Boston. It turned out … I wasn’t prepared … plus I got sick, plus I got overwhelmed by work issues, and slumped my way to just 23,000 words (some of it felt like cheating).
Come 2015, I came in prepared – did my research, scheduled good time to work, and was ready to kick tail from day one. I was doing pretty well until a prolonged Thanksgiving mixed in with the aforementioned surgery, gave me a week with barely any progress at all. But with a brilliant end run, I somehow cranked out 11,000 words in the last two days and ‘won’ with all of 5 hours to spare.
With my first win under my belt, and nearly 10 months of planning for the next go, my 2016 should have had me full of confidence … but it was the opposite. I was sure this would end in failure .. mostly with the start. I didn’t even think I had content to get me through 15,000 words. Instead, I cranked! I had 7000 done on the first day, crossed the 10,000 mark on Day 2, and passed the halfway mark by Nov 10th. Things slowed considerably, but … I mean … I quit my job, made plans to move to California, and had to pack up a house, so … yeah. In the end, I actually called it quits early, deciding that 55,000 words in 29 days was good enough.
2017 is going to be tough. Now granted, there are no planned life changing events coming up. No new jobs, no new moves, no new dogs – but it’s a heck of a busy month for me. I am out of the office for work reasons on 5 of the first 7 days of the month, possibly 6. I have two trips planned; only one of them actually has an overnight somewhere. My usual Thanksgiving trip home is longer than normal, because airline mile blackout dates were a little more brutal than normal too.
I have to adjust to a new writing region too. Boston, with all the things I griped about, had a pretty good NaNoWriMo support system. There were ‘write-ins’ (blocks of time set aside at local libraries to just sit in a room with other WriMos and crank out words) on most nights of the week – and were easy to get to. This area does have that, but I am worried about getting to those places, since some may require commutes into downtown or West Hollywood or Burbank. Heck, I am even worried about the high number of Sunday Packer Games going on getting in the way of heavy writing times.
Oddly enough, I am most worried about how confident I am. I keep thinking … don’t worry, you’ll get typing and it will just happen. Also, I am continuing a story I wrote for the 2015 NaNoWriMo because 50,000 words didn’t even get me to the good stuff yet. But … writing is fickle. Some days, I can focus on putting something out, some days not. If there is too much in my world, getting the writing breathing space isn’t there. Want evidence? Well look at this blog over October. This has been a crazy month, and my usual 2 blogs a week dipped off to 3 for the whole month. And today’s blog won’t even crest 1000 words, with me running out of steam.
So, NaNoWriMo looms, and looms heavy. With luck, time, and creativity, I’ll get through it. If not, I’ll try to have fun trying.
Then again … I only made it to 855 words here. Erm … 858. Okay 859.