NaNoWriMo ... My inspiration (kick in the pants) when I need it the most!
Do you like to write? Have you attempted the NaNoWriMo event before? Am I speaking a foreign language? Fear not, I’ll take a moment to explain!
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is a wonderful, FREE, global event hosted online each November. The goal is to write every day for thirty days in a row, and to have a complete first draft by the end of the month. In order to “win”, you must complete 50,000 words between November 1stand 30th. For some of you, this may sound simple. For others, it may sound downright impossible. Either way, anything that assists writers in daily practice is a wonderful (and much needed) thing.
When broken down, the word count goal amounts to roughly 1,667 words per day as a target. In his book On Writing, (a must have for any aspiring novelist) Stephen King claims to write an average of 2,000 words per day. Not only that, King also states he writes every day of the year: birthdays, statutory holidays and vacations included. For many of us who still require a day job, this may not be sustainable year-round. It’s worth a try nonetheless. And during the month of November, hundreds of thousands of us often succeed.
I have always loved creative writing. But it’s only been in recent years that I’ve come to believe it may be a part of my calling. And not because of recognition, praise or publishing deals. Nope. One of my biggest ‘aha’ moments came just last month when I attended a writer’s workshop.
First, I should acknowledge that all the stars had to align in order for me to be present that day. I live on Vancouver Island. The workshop was in Vancouver. And though the class itself was free, it costs a small fortune for me to travel to the mainland. I asked for a little help in the form of an early Christmas present, and I was able to raise enough funds to afford the trip.
The event was hosted at the Vancouver Public Library by a writer in residence. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I arrived. And while we may not have covered all the topics I’d hoped for, I discovered something far more valuable.
Initially I was captivated by the pleasant hum of creative minds all congregating in the same room. But as our workshop carried on, I realized why the energy felt great. I finally understood why I couldn’t stop smiling.
We – the creative minded people: artists, writers, musicians, dancers, you name it – we often see the world differently. Take for example, our host and facilitator, Stella Maclean …
To begin with, we were discussing the Central Vancouver Public Library, located downtown. The magnificent nine-story building is comprised of stunning architectural features including bridges, skylights and an exterior wall modeled after the Amphitheatre in Rome. But none of its beauty detracts from the functionality of its various rooms: the offices, meeting places, theatres, resource centers or gardens. Beyond having an artist’s appreciation for the structure itself, Stella kept imagining the stories she could write there. Stories of intrigue, mystery … murder.
We all chimed in on characters we’d love to place in that setting, as well as all the ways we would devastate their lives. As you can imagine, these are not the kinds of conversations one can simply have in a doctor’s waiting room or on a crowded airplane. No. Non-writers are likely to think you’re an escaped convict or a total nutter.
But writers? Writers thrive on this stuff. As I sat there, listening, chatting and grinning from ear to ear, all I could think was … I’m among my people. Finally, I’ve found my tribe!
I may never be a New York Time’s Bestselling author. I may never win writing awards, prizes or accolades. My soul may speak a different language than the average person. But I’ve found many other souls that speak this same language. And many of them are gearing up to speak non-stop for the next thirty days.
So if these crazy ideas make sense to you … if you march to the beat of a different drum … why don’t you give NaNoWriMo a chance this November? You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose.
And about 50,000 words to gain!
Happy Writing My Friends!